ATU 1596 and Occupy Orlando say - Transit will not Run-Over the backs of the Working Class!
Central Florida Transit Authority or Lynx CEO John Lewis stated " there's money on the table." He was referring to Transit drivers and mechanics represented by ATU local 1596 who has have been dealing with 3 years of frozen wages, increasing healthcare costs, and no contract. The CEO was not clear that the money on the table was only a cheap attempt to take everything from these drivers.
As ATU 1596 members went into negotiations, they wanted community members to see how outrageous the company was being. Lynx's proposal included a .5% raise (only 10 cents for your top drivers), a one time lump sum of 200,00 (before taxes), removing the pension for new employees, taking away overtime after 8 hours and decrease in uniform and tool allowance which employees already pay a lot for out of pocket now. That was just some of the company's proposals.
Community members including transit riders and people from the local Occupy Orlando Movement came to show support for union members and watch how Lynx treats their employees. The tense room was packed with over 50 community and union members standing in solidarity to send a clear message to management : Our Transit system will not be ran off the backs of the working class. While negotiations came to a stall after 20 minutes between the union and the company, the audience reacts to the company's lack of respect for its employees and exit out the door. What happened in the negotiation room is what is happening to workers across the country. Now Companies like Lynx must figure out how to deal with the 99% who are very committed to stand together until a fair contract is won for union members. Later in the day, ATU local 1596 officers came down to the General Assembly with gracious donations and great words of encouragement for the occupiers. Even in a very discouraging day , Labor and Community are coming together to say enough is enough. Union members will be joining a Occupy Orladno march on November 5th with the message "people over profit.