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Amalgamated Transit Union Calls for Greater Protection for Transit Workers Following Assault on Bus Driver in Surrey, BC

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 03/27/14 -- The Canadian Council of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) today expressed its sympathy and support for a TransLink bus driver who was viciously assaulted in Surrey, BC Wednesday night.

The driver was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital with a broken nose after being punched by a male passenger in an unprovoked attack. The RCMP is searching for his assailant.

"There's literally a war on transit workers in Canada," said Mike Mahar, Canadian Director of the Amalgamated Transit Union. "Every day in this country, there are five to six assaults on transit operators and staff. That's approximately 2,000 assaults a year - it's absolutely unacceptable."

The ATU is working closely with transit employers, represented by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), to make the case that strengthening protections for transit workers under the Criminal Code is essential.

"Stronger provisions under the Criminal Code would provide law enforcement with the tools it requires to better protect our workers," said Mahar. "It would also serve as a powerful deterrent."

Mahar observed that many operators are leaving their employment, and potential workers are declining to enter it at all, because of legitimate fears for their safety.

"These assaults affect not only the transit operators, but their families, their co-workers, and the members of the public who put their safety in the hands of the operators every day," he said. "It has to stop."

About the Amalgamated Transit Union

Founded in 1892, the Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labour union representing transit workers in North America. Today the union has more than 190,000 members in 264 local unions in 44 states and nine provinces. The ATU membership includes bus, subway, light rail, ferry operators, clerks, baggage handlers, mechanics and others in public transit, para-transit, inter-city and school bus industries.

ATU works to promote transit issues and fights for the interests of its hard-working members.

Established in 1982, the Amalgamated Transit Union, Canadian Council is the highest authority and voice in Canada for the ATU on all issues of Canadian interest, including legislation, political, educational, health and safety, cultural and social welfare matters.

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