Bus Riders Strike in Downtown Los Angeles.
- By Sergio Jimenez
On Thursday, November 13th, the Bus Riders Union organized a rally protest on the corner of 7th and Figueroa, in downtown Los Angeles, in support of the stranded bus riders and striking mechanics/ bus drivers of the ATU. The event took place at around 5:00 pm in one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles.
The Bus Riders Union was seeking to attract attention to the strike that's nearly paralyzed the city's transit system, a strike that's lasted well over a month. Using giant "WANTED" posters of the head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Zev Yaroslavsky, in front of the Red Line bus stop, and with people chanting, beating drums, dancing, and distributing flyers detailing the real reasons why the MTA board doesn't want to end the strike (even though they have the opportunity to do so), the BRU was able to attract the attention of thousands that work, live, and have to commute from downtown LA to their home cities.
Flyers were distributed all along the main intersections and adjacent bus stops where hundreds of people had to wait extra time for the crowded buses that neighboring cities are providing to the City of Los Angeles in order to alleviate the anger and congestion in the city. The response from the public was well received, many honking their car horns in support and in solidarity for the mechanics, bus riders and drivers, and in hopes that the strike would end in favor of the mechanics. Many other drivers were stunned to know that the MTA still profits about a million dollars per day that the strike continues, or that the MTA has declined offers from mechanics and bus drivers to return to work while a judge decides the fate of the strike (arbitration).
Many people from different political organizations were present during the rally, from Not In Our Name to Aztec Dancers Cuahtemoc from Los Angeles, along with several students from Santa Monica College and neighboring Community Colleges. However, the large percentage of members from various communities overshadowed the event, due to their display of solidarity, and activism that's continuing to grow aside from the times of reaction in our society.
People found out about the event and arrived in shuttles that the Bus Riders Union provides from Monday to Friday at 6:00am to 10:00am while the strike continues. For further information regarding the daily free shuttles, contact the BRU offices at (213) 387-2800, or log on to www.busridersunion.org
Sergio, 26, is a student in Los Angeles. He can be reached for feedback at Yolcuatl@cs.com