Tran­sit work­ers vow to push for bet­ter safety year af­ter col­league killed on job

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - JOYANNE PURSAGA jpur­saga@post­ Twit­ter: @pur­sagaw­pg­sun

Col­leagues, fam­ily and friends gath­ered to re­mem­ber Irvine “Jubal” Fraser Wed­nes­day, one year af­ter he was killed on the job.

Fraser, a Win­nipeg Tran­sit driver, was stabbed to death on his bus on Feb. 14, 2017.

On Wed­nes­day, mem­bers of the Amal­ga­mated Tran­sit Union (ATU)

Lo­cal 1505 hosted a memo­rial ser­vice for Fraser at Union

Cen­tre, while Win­nipeg Tran­sit buses across town dis­played “In Mem­ory #521” on their dig­i­tal signs.

Driv­ers at the event said the tragedy has left them feel­ing un­safe at work.

“I have a rough time go­ing to work. I’ve been threat­ened my­self on the job,” driver Chris­tian Bram­billa said af­ter the memo­rial. “My fam­ily’s def­i­nitely wor­ried for me, scared for me.”

The union says it’s un­happy with the pace at which new se­cu­rity mea­sures are be­ing added to Win­nipeg Tran­sit buses fol­low­ing the tragedy, since the city has yet to add se­cu­rity staff it promised for buses.

“(Fraser’s) death will not be in vain. We want to make a dif­fer­ence, we want to con­tinue on with our quest for a safer work­place for every­body,” said Aleem Chaud­hary, pres­i­dent of ATU 1505.

John Cal­la­han, the ATU’S in­ter­na­tional vice-pres­i­dent, called to con­tinue the lobby for new safety mea­sures.

“Work­ing to­gether, we can cre­ate a cul­ture that can be safe for all the bus op­er­a­tors and all the tran­sit users,” said Cal­la­han.

Bram­billa agreed that ad­di­tional se­cu­rity staff would help driv­ers feel more pro­tected.

“That would help. A ded­i­cated po­lice force that’s able to de­tain, ar­rest prob­lem­atic pas­sen­gers,” said Bram­billa.

Dur­ing the memo­rial, a Win­nipeg Tran­sit man­ager called Fraser’s death “the sin­gle most sig­nif­i­cant event in the his­tory of Win­nipeg Tran­sit.”

“If you worked here, if you knew Jubal or not, his death had a pro­found ef­fect on you,” said Randy Ton­nel­lier, Tran­sit’s act­ing op­er­a­tions man­ager.

Coun­cil’s pub­lic works chair said the city re­mains com­mit­ted to all el­e­ments of its strat­egy to im­prove bus safety.

Coun. Marty Mo­rantz (Charleswood-tuxedo-whyte Ridge) notes the city ear­marked $590,000 for ad­di­tional se­cu­rity staff in 2018 and ex­pects po­lice feed­back on who should pro­vide that pres­ence later this week.

“I have been press­ing very hard on this is­sue and I do want a res­o­lu­tion of it,” said Mo­rantz.

The city hasn’t yet de­cided if po­lice of­fi­cers, tran­sit su­per­vi­sors or pri­vate se­cu­rity will be se­lected to ful­fill the role.

Coun­cil has ap­proved sev­eral spe­cific bus safety mea­sures since Fraser’s death, in­clud­ing fund­ing to pro­vide con­flict res­o­lu­tion train­ing to bus op­er­a­tors and four new point duty in­spec­tors.

Tran­sit is also now test­ing driver safety shields and has added an ex­ter­nal cam­era to every bus.

Fraser’s fam­ily opted not to speak at the vigil or with me­dia.

“My fam­ily’s def­i­nitely wor­ried for me, scared for me.” Driver Chris­tian Bram­billa


John Cal­la­han, in­ter­na­tional vice-pres­i­dent of the Amal­ga­mated Tran­sit Union, speaks at a memo­rial for bus driver Irvine “Jubal” Fraser yes­ter­day. Be­low, union mem­bers, friends and fam­ily gather at City Hall last Fe­bru­ary.


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