By CONNECTICUT WORKERS CRISIS RESPONSE
Reinstate Chicago Bus Driver Erek Slater Now! Sign the petition! Build solidarity!
Connecticut Workers Crisis Response stands in solidarity with Erek Slater, a Chicago union bus driver and member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 241. Erek was unjustly dismissed from his job on May 31 by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). He was simply acting in his capacity as a union representative and sharing a public statement from the ATU about the George Floyd protests and racism.
The statement reads in part: “…[our members have the] right to refuse work they consider dangerous or unsafe during the pandemic … [and] the right to refuse the dangerous duty of transporting police to protests and arrested demonstrators away from these communities where many of these drivers live. This is a misuse of public transit.” The CTA has retaliated by accusing Erek of illegally trying to incite a wildcat strike.
Erek Slater, in his capacity as a union representative, raised questions about CTA bus drivers being instrumental in the arrest of Chicago citizens who were demonstrating in the streets demanding justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence. These protesters are the families and the neighbors of bus drivers themselves whose actions are bringing about social change in the U.S. The CTA has retaliated against Erek by taking him out of service and accusing him of illegally advocating for a wildcat strike, a charge which is false and could lead to his being fired. Erek’s legal counsel has filed federal charges against the CTA for breaking the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.
The CTA’s decision to attack a worker for educating fellow drivers on their hard-won union rights is an unacceptable attempt to roll back the rights of all essential workers. Erek’s being disciplined for standing up for racial justice and against police brutality also reflects the political situation that has developed, where Chicago is hosting ICE’s “citizen training” academy designed to train people in the methods used to detain undocumented workers. It also represents a blow to the gains of anti-racist activists who forced the city to shut down Homan Square, which was a longtime center of civil rights violations and police violence.
Connecticut Workers Crisis Response rejects the CTA’s attempt to violate Erek Slater’s rights as a union worker as well as the general offensive from the bosses on fighters for racial justice. Please sign, share, and donate to have all charges dropped against Erek Slater!