Santa Rosa CityBus drivers stand with their community ensuring essential transportation continues
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Even as COVID-19 wanes in the face of vaccinations and ongoing safety measures, the employees of Santa Rosa City Transit are ensuring that the essential lifeline provided by public transit remains unbroken.
During the height of the pandemic, concerns about health and safety could be found at the top of all our lists. To some, CityBus resembled a Petri dish that exposed bus drivers and riders to the deadly effects of COVID-19. But SEIU 1021, led by its local chapter leadership, worked with management and saw the pandemic as an opportunity to keep its employees safe while protecting its community of riders.
“As essential transit service workers, we have
provided unbroken fundamental public services to the
communities who are the most in need during the floods,
fires, and during the ongoing pandemic. We serve the
seniors, those with disabilities, veterans, school-aged
children, college students, and low-wage workers in our
community. We move lives forward under
all circumstances.” said John
Morrison, Santa Rosa CityBus driver and Chief Shop
Steward for the Santa Rosa Chapter.
Santa Rosa City Transit has proven to be an essential service to the communities that were most in need. In addition to providing the necessary transportation for the elderly, the bus service also served essential workers so they could continue to perform their job functions and continue providing for their families. Buses were used during the wildfires to evacuate the elderly from assisted living facilities, with drivers showing their dedication by driving through hazardous and life-threatening conditions.
“We are fighting for Transit Justice, where items like COLA’s help workers continue to live and work in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County where housing prices and rents are extremely high. We want to stay in our communities and contribute to the local economy, but we are being forced out. The City has been reinvesting in local businesses and the most afflicted members of our community and we hope the City realizes that investing in their essential workers is an investment in the community that will help us all thrive.” said Morrison.
As we enter new contract negotiations, these dedicated workers are asking the City for a fair wage increase and continued health and safety protections like the plexiglass barriers and safe distancing that was put into place in an effort to keep all safe. While the City administration is crying broke by claiming that there are long-term structural issues in Santa Rosa and revenue is in the red, the city sits on tens of millions of dollars in reserves from PG&E, State, and Federal aid. Instead of honoring the hard work and dedication of CityBus drivers, the City insists on balancing the budget on the backs of the workers who continue to keep the city operating and functioning safely.
Santa Rosa City Transit drivers have been tested in the recent past and have shown a level of dedication to their work that can make every SEIU 1021 member proud. We must support Santa Rosa City Transit workers in their contract fight to show the City administration that we are Union Strong and we will stand by CityBus drivers.