Edmonton Transit Workers Launches “We Deserve To Be Safe” Campaign as Violence and Drug Use on Transit Rises

Workers and riders to wear armbands in solidarity

With violence and drug use still rising on Edmonton buses and LRT, Edmonton Transit workers launched a “We Deserve To Be Safe” campaign wearing armbands with the slogan to demand the City provide better safety measures for transit workers and riders.

“Despite the City’s best efforts, the problem persists and in some cases is getting worse, not better.” said Steve Bradshaw, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569, representing Edmonton Transit workers. “The City needs support from senior levels of government to solve the homelessness at the root of the problem, but more local action is needed.”

While the City has moved to add to the Peace Officer Corps, the workers are saying it is not enough and more Transit Peace Officers (TPOs) are urgently needed. “Today, we’re calling on City Council to get more enforcement out there and get them properly equipped to do the job,” Bradshaw continued. “Please, please, please find solutions for the vulnerable population and get the criminals that prey on them off our Transit System.”

Also, the Union says the TPOs are severely handicapped by the lack of authority they have. They ought to be authorized to enforce the Mental Health Act, arrest for outstanding warrants, enforce assault and robbery laws, and others, but they cannot.

“From Edmonton, AB, to Washington, DC, to Richmond, VA, to Winnipeg, MB, to Phoenix, AZ, and Toronto, ON,  violence, and drug use on public transit have become an
epidemic. Every day, we hear of another member being punched, slapped, verbally abused, stabbed, shot at, and worse on the job,” said ATU International President John Costa. “Our members and riders are sending a strong message to the City with their ‘We Deserve To Be Safe’ armband campaign that it’s time for the Edmonton City Council to take serious measures to ensure everyone’s safety on the city’s transit system.”

Steve Bradshaw

780 426-6136