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The Records of RTD Employees

June 12, 1986

As general chairman of the United Transportation Union, representing the more than 5,000 men and women who operate the buses of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, I have recently been put into the position of having to defend the overwhelming majority of our members for the alleged wrongdoings of a very few.

The catalyst in the situation was an accident in which many persons were injured, when the driver of a bus, which rear-ended another, was tested positive for cocaine.

This union in no way excuses the behavior of any person who operates a public vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There is no excuse for such a person, and there is no place for them on the RTD.

However, overlooked in the flurry of public statements and outcry is the fact that with a few exceptions our members are doing a tremendous job for the public under the most trying circumstances imaginable..

Back-breaking schedules, being required to work six or seven days a week, aging buses and the predictable stresses of driving in the Los Angeles area traffic are enough to try any human being, but our members are also being physically assaulted, verbally threatened and otherwise harassed.

Amazingly, in spite of all that, they have one of the best driving safety records of any major bus property in the country and their accident-frequency rate is well below the national average.

We believe it is about time people recognized the tremendous physical and emotional demands put on a bus driver and saluted our members for the outstanding job they are doing.

I will not apologize for our members. By and large they are as dedicated and responsible as anyone could possibly expect, and they are doing a tremendous job.

EARL CLARK

Los Angeles

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