Labor Watch

Faulty Inspection

The transit union’s bus overtime campaign endangers drivers, passengers, and everyone on the road

(PDF here)

The Amalgamated Transit Union is working with its political allies on a proposed federal law that it claims will make bus travel between cities safer. Not surprisingly, the law ignores the most important safety factors in such travel and will likely make passengers less safe. But the law does have one advantage for union leaders: they think it will raise wages.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents some 200,000 transit workers across the U.S. and Canada, is trying to make the nation’s roads less safe, while it pretends to work to make them safer. In politics, one of the most important skills is to make one’s special interest seem like the public interest. Unions are adept at this. With regard to buses and bus drivers, the ATU is particularly effective at advocacy (or “spin”), in part because of people’s emotional response to news reports whenever a horrible bus accident occurs.

Bus travel in the United States is gener­ally safe, but as with air travel, the rare serious accident that occurs usually receives wide coverage on the news. In addition, people tend to respond emo­tionally to bus accidents, because they can imagine themselves as the victims who suffer injuries after putting their safety in the hands of drivers who may  be unqualified or inattentive.

One scenario that’s particularly terrify­ing to the average person is of a bus driver who falls asleep, and the ATU knows how to play off people’s fears. [Click here for the rest.]


Carl F. Horowitz

Carl F. Horowitz heads the Organized Labor Accountability Project for the National Legal and Policy Center in Falls Church, Virginia.
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