District Council 57

California Unions Urge Sacramento to Stop the Latest Transit Rip Off

It was powerful to see such a broad coalition speak with one voice to the Legislature.

Funding for public transit has come under the crosshairs of the governor and Senate in the latest round of budget proposals. Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal is to eliminate $1.3 billion through a “gas tax swap” which would replace it with an excise tax. Meanwhile, an alternative proposal in the Senate does little to create long-term fixes to the budget problem, while jeopardizing service levels, affordability, and jobs. AFSCME Locals, District Councils and AFSCME California are all actively working to restore funds which are critical to maintain service and staffing levels.

On February 2, Local 3916 (AC Transit) leaders and Council 57 staff participated in a Transit Justice Lobby Day along with AFSCME Council 36, Amalgamated Transit Union, United Transit Union and dozens of transit activists from the Bay Area, L.A., and the greater Sacramento area. Travelling from Oakland to Sacramento on a bus provided by AC Transit, participants heard the latest details of the budget proposals and practiced telling stories of how previous cuts have already hurt students, commuters, and the transit dependent. In Sacramento, we were joined by local faith-based activists and our brothers and sisters from AFSCME Council 36 who work at MTA. It was powerful to see such a broad coalition of workers, transit agency board members, students, environmentalists, the disabled, members of faith-based groups, and community organizers speak with one voice to the Legislature.

California’s major transit unions and the Labor Federation have also come together to urge the legislature to oppose the Governor’s gas tax swap proposal and to urge the adoption of a reasonable alternative that doesn’t gut state funding for public transit programs.

What can you do?

Contact your State Senator and Assembly member and ask them to fully fund public transit! Click here for a sample letter. Find out if your representative sits on a transportation committee.


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