27 Mar Passing of First ATU Member from COVID-19
Amalgamated Transit Union Mourns Passing of First Member from COVID-19, Brother Scott Ryan of Local 1576-Lynnwood, WA
Silver Spring, MD – The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) is sad to report the passing of our first member from COVID-19, Local 1576-Lynnwood, WA Shop Steward Scott Ryan.
“The tragic reality of this devastating and deadly pandemic has now taken the life of one of our own. I hope the entire continent will join us in a moment of silence tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET to remember Local 1576 shop steward Scott Ryan, who was just 41 years old,” said ATU International President John Costa. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Brother Ryan and his sisters and brothers of Local 1576 in Lynnwood, WA.”
Scott is a “hero”– as a frontline essential services worker, Scott put his life on the line, just like all ATU workers are, during this global crisis!
“While we mourn the death of our brother, transit workers should be ranked alongside police, firefighters, health care workers, and other essential public employees, who are continuously asked to risk their lives on the job to help and protect our communities through this pandemic,” Costa continued.
“In 24 hours, we lost two TWU brothers in New York City and an ATU brother in Washington State,” Costa noted. “Transit workers from coast to coast are continuing to get exposed and infected from COVID-19, and agencies and governments need to act now to protect them. You shouldn’t send troops into battle without protective armor, and you shouldn’t send nurses and bus operators to work without proper personal protective equipment.”
“We’ve been leading the charge for strategic service continuation because we know how essential it is, but each day that passes where these agencies fail to provide PPE, is another day our agencies and our governments fail to put the health of our members and the greater public health as a priority to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Costa said.
Since the outbreak began, the ATU has been demanding our transit agencies and private contractors move quickly to deliver needed materials and adopt policy changes in order to keep systems running and workers safe. These include, but are not limited to, gloves, masks, protective barriers, pandemic leave, rear door entry, fare elimination and other measures to support social distancing.
“Listen. We continue to be told this will get worse before it gets better. We are being told more will get infected. We are being told – unfortunately – more will die. The best way we can honor Brother Ryan is to continue to demand our employers and governments provide critical protections that essential frontline workers require to do their jobs safely,” said Costa. “We must keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. Without transit agencies and governments providing these essential protections, that may be impossible. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Scott Ryan’s family, extended family, co-workers, friends, and all those who knew him.”
The Amalgamated Transit Union – the largest labor union representing transit and allied workers in the U.S. and Canada – fights for the interests of its hard-working members and promotes mass transit. Founded in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of more than 200,000 members, including: metropolitan, interstate, and school bus drivers; paratransit, light rail, subway, streetcar, and ferry boat operators; mechanics and other maintenance workers; station agents, clerks, baggage handlers, municipal employees and others. ATU has more than 250 Locals in 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and nine Canadian provinces.
John A. Costa