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Labor Beat: CTA Fires Union Steward for Defending The Contract

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Published on Feb 12, 2016

When a company fires a union steward for trying to uphold the contract, it should set off alarms for unions everywhere, and especially in Chicago. This is what the Chicago Transit Authority did to Erek Slater, a bus driver who is a union steward with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, and also a member of the union's Executive Board. On February 11, 2016 a contingent of supporters joined Slater in the CTA headquarters street lobby for a press conference. Near the beginning of the press conference there appeared an agitated woman who did not identify herself or explain whether she represented anybody. She told the press conference participants to leave. The press conference continued, first with Slater explaining the basics of his case, followed by statements by supporters and union officers.

In this video, a condensed version of the entire press conference, there also appear: Djuan Williamson (CTA part-time bus driver); Sighlette Parker (recently fired CTA employee); Larry T. Muhammad (2nd Vice President, ATU 241); Charlie Peacock (1st Vice President, ATU Local 308); and Ed Hershey (Teacher, CTU Delegate from Lindblom High School).

Nicholas J. Kreitman, an attorney working on behalf of Mr. Slater, drew attention to other, related attempts by CTA management to deprive union members of their rights: They "have been prohibiting bus workers from putting up flyers, from holding meetings in break rooms to discuss support for teacher [CTU] bargaining. If management can get away with these kinds of actions, if management can get away with terminating an Executive Board member in the middle of bus driver bargaining for supporting bus drivers and...teachers...that's going to have a terrible impact on First Amendment rights..."

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