Lethbridge Transit drivers are attaching black ribbons to the driver's side mirrors of their buses today as a tribute and a symbol of solidarity following the death of Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine J. Fraser, who was fatally stabbed last week in the line of duty.
"The safety of all workers is of paramount importance to the City of Lethbridge. The reality is that the fatal incident that occurred in Winnipeg could happen to any transit driver. For that reason, we believe it is important to stand in solidarity with our Lethbridge Transit drivers in speaking out against workplace violence," says Conrad Westerson, Lethbridge Transit Manager.
The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 987 requested that transit drivers be allowed to tie black ribbons to all full-size, 40-foot Transit buses today in recognition of the slain Winnipeg driver, who is to be laid to rest today. The black ribbons will appear on Lethbridge Transit buses as they go out this morning and will be removed as they are returned to the Transit barns at the end of each driver's shift. Similar tributes are planned by transit drivers in other cities across Canada.
"Unfortunately, assaults on transit drivers are not uncommon. But assaults – or worse – are not a reasonable or acceptable workplace hazard," says Travis Oberg, local ATU president. "It means a lot for our members to be able to recognize a fellow driver who was killed in the line of duty to and to demonstrate solidarity with each other."
In addition, Wednesday, Feb. 22 is Pink Shirt Day, and local transit drivers will be wearing pink as part of the national campaign to eliminate bullying in schools, workplaces, homes and over the internet.
In January this year, video surveillance cameras were installed in all Lethbridge Transit buses to enhance the safety and security of transit passengers and drivers. This new safety feature is expected to reduce crime and vandalism as well as help identify issues that can be proactively addressed to protect the safety and wellbeing of the public and Transit staff.
To view frequently asked questions related to the new video surveillance system visit: www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/getting-around/Transit/Pages/VideoSurveillance.aspx
Conrad Westerson, Transit Manager
City of Lethbridge
Travis Oberg, President
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 987