Driven to distraction

Sparks Tribune columnist Barbano operates the website.

I’ve gone through this every third summer for the past two decades.

The foreign-owned contractor hired to oppress local bus system workers tries to provoke a strike to bust the Teamsters Union. Meanwhile, elected and appointed officials sit shiva while hiding under the sleazy skirt of plausible deniability. (“Not my department.”) Before you dust off your picket signs, contact the five elected members of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) and tell them to stop this exploitation and allow workers a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. (Contact info via the websites.)

Over the years, elected officials have squandered millions hiring foreign—European and Texan—management corporations to run the bus system into the ground. You will find chapter and verse at my website, Lesson: Never accept low-bid from out of state bandidos.

New bus drivers while receiving training—and not much of it—get unadjusted-for-inflation minimum wage. When they hit the streets, they get minimum wage adjusted for inflation. Which means some live in weekly motels and can never afford the Texans’ high-priced health insurance. Wonder how many have applied for welfare or food stamps? How many have to hit the ER for health care? You know who pays for that.

Two of three new hires quit over wages and working conditions. This has wasted well over a quarter-million taxpayer dollars in just the past three years.

The Texans have already imported a crew of expensive, professional union busters, hoping that the workers will strike so management can attempt to illegally fire everyone and blame the union. Management minds seem made up either way. RTC and its minions can drop all pretense of fairness and lock out workers with or without a strike, then bring in the high-priced imports.

We taxpayers are already stuck with that cost along with posh salaries for RTC staffers, 35 of whom are compensated over $100,000 a year to a high of $322,510.59. They live high while some of their workers dwell in weekly motels. Or worse.

Stop it. Now. A growing region with a shrinking transportation system lives in a straitjacket of exploitation and embarrassment. Senior citizens, low-wage workers, young people, students, the sick and disabled, among many others, depend on our bus system.

Contact your elected officials and demand that they fix it. Now. Tell them that the buck stops with them, that you are tired of big taxpayer bucks being blown by bandidos from the land of the armadillo.

If you’re not registered to vote, please do so. And bring the family.

Be well. Raise hell.