Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 256

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 256 is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the greater Sacramento area. Founded in 1902, the ATU has represented employees from P.G.& E.,Sacramento Northern Railroad, Central California Traction Company, Sacramento City Lines, Gibson Lines, Suburban Transit Lines, Transit Authority of the City of Sacramento (STA) and today is comprised of over 1300 members in 8 locations.The Union is guided by a 15 Board members elected by the membership every three years.  These delegates meet to debate and direct the future of the Union on the first Monday of every month. The officers consist of the  President, Vice President, Financial Secretary,Recording Secretary and 11 Executive Board members. The office of the President is currently held by Ralph Niz, who assumed the office in January 2014. The  Vice President is Cornia De La Torre, the Financial Secretary is Steve Muniz and the Recording Secretary is Aaron Cantu.  ATU 256 is comprised of bus, light rail operators, clerks, maintenance employees and school bus industry employees.


The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 180,000 members in 270 local unions spread across 46 states and nine provinces. The Union is guided by a triennial convention at which delegates chosen by locals meet to debate and direct the future of the Union. The International officers consist of the International President, the International Executive Vice President, the International Secretary-Treasurer, and 18 International Vice Presidents. The International Vice Presidents serve on the Union's General Executive Board. Lawrence Hanley, who assumed the office in September 2010, currently holds the office of the International President. The International Executive Vice President is Javier M. Perez Jr.., and the International Secretary-Treasurer is Oscar Owens.The ATU is comprised of bus, van, subway, and light rail operators, clerks, baggage handlers and maintenance employees in urban transit, over-the-road and school bus industries, as well as emergency medical service.


As our numbers increase at ATU 256, it seems to me that only a few members are aware of what a Union is or what we in the ATU work for as a Union.  First we must understand what a Union is, “A Union is an association of workers seeking to improve its economic and social well being through group actions”.  I have heard many members new and old say that the Union is not doing anything for them and that the Union only takes their money, I would like to remind all these members who the Union is.  As stated above the Union is an “association of workers” not the Officers that have been elected to represent these workers, remember you are the Union.  Sometimes this kind of thinking could be due to the fact that many of our members have not known the struggles of the past, the sacrifices of those gone before us to make our work places better for us.  Remember your elected representatives speak as a collective voice and negotiate in your interest.  These interests include wages, benefits and working conditions.  Think for a moment what it would be like if you had to go in and negotiate your own wages, medical, retirement and working conditions.  Unions in America have always had to fight for their workers.  Social and Political sentiment against Unions is widespread, especially when Republicans are in power.  It used to be that we in the ATU took care of our brothers and sisters that we collectively worked to better everybody in our work areas.  As you can see we here at ATU 256 have worked hard to bring up the wages for all drivers in the area, the entry level wage in this area is $12.50 per hour or better.  Union density has made this happen.  I know it is easy for members to sit in their work area and criticize the Officers and Executive Board.  Those of you that sit in judgment, that criticize, that bad mouth the people you put in office, I challenge you to step up and do the work, or come to Union meetings and participate in the democratic process, become involved and find the truth.  PEACE