The Amalgamated Transit Union, the city’s biggest bus driver union, has voted one of New York’s own as their next president. The ATU announced yesterday that Larry Hanley, a 32-year New York City Transit veteran, has been elected head of the ATU International. Hanley, one of the founders of the Keep America Moving coalition, is billed as a reform candidate, and shortly after his election yesterday, he spoke with Labor Notes’ Mark Brennan about his plans for the union.
The interview touches upon a variety of topics that impact New Yorkers and Americans in general. Hanley talks about the need for better legislative action that keeps transit agencies afloat and talks about working with T4America to promote green jobs and transit expansion. He recognizes that unions have earned a bad rap these days but seems to understand that car culture, particularly in New York City, is bad for our community and our environment. “If we can organize and convince the users of mass transit and the workers of mass transit that they have a common interest, and if you carry that forward into different areas in the labor movement, that is a long, hard battle but it’s in reach. It’s also an imperative,” he said. “If we don’t do it we’ll cease to exist.”