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TRANSIT WORKERS CALL ON PORT AUTHORITY TO FILL VACANT TRANSIT POSITIONS AND PUT SAFETY BEFORE HIGH-RISK COST SAVINGS

09.08.11

ATU Local 85 Media Advisory

For Immediate Release
Contact: Marty Marks 412.352.0317

TRANSIT WORKERS CALL ON PORT AUTHORITY TO FILL VACANT TRANSIT POSITIONS AND PUT SAFETY BEFORE HIGH-RISK COST SAVINGS

Transit union leader calls press conference to warn that Port Authority inaction on filling job openings is resulting in excessive and mandatory overtime leading to driver exhaustion and unnecessary safety hazards

Pittsburgh, Penn. (September 8, 2011) – On Friday, September 9th at noon, ATU Local 85 President, Patrick McMahon will hold a press conference to blow the whistle on high-risk Port Authority management decisions regarding leaving vacant, as many as 15 transit operator positions that are fully funded in the current operating budget.

“We have repeatedly warned the Authority the failure to fill vacant positions is creating unsafe overtime demands on our drivers and putting the riders we serve at risk,” Mr. McMahon said. “Numerous studies have shown that driving buses and operating commuter rail systems are highly stressful jobs. It makes absolutely no sense intensifying that stress by over burdening the work force when the funding to eliminate the problem is just setting there untapped,” he said.

At the press conference, Mr. McMahon will provide reporters correspondence the union sent to Port Authority management seeking changes in the Authority’s overreliance on overtime and warning of the unsafe conditions created by excessive work demands. He will also address the financial ramifications of overdependence on overtime.

“There comes a time when it makes no sense to keep paying drivers higher overtime wages to work extended shifts when there is an option to bring back laid-off workers to fill the gaps working for the regular hourly rate,” Mr. McMahon says. “When you factor-in the fact that the Port Authority is self-insured and paying unemployment benefits to laid-off workers, it adds a financial argument to bringing back unemployed workers and taking concrete steps to reduce the safety risks we are now experiencing,” he said.

Appearing at the press conference with Mr. McMahon will be transit operators who have been working excessive over-time hours and laid-off transit workers waiting to be called back to work. Press conference participants will be available for one-on-one interviews at the press conference and remote interviews may be arranged by calling the media contact above.

Who: Patrick McMahon, President of ATU Local 85; Transit operators and laid-off transit workers.
What: Media Conference calling in to question Port Authority management decisions regarding transit operator overtime
When: Friday, September 9th at noon.
Where: ATU Local 85 Headquarters at 2011 Chateau Street in Pittsburgh