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City Mechanics to be Privatized
by stephen donahue Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004 at 8:07 AM

Plans by Pittsburgh City Council to outsource city fleet maintenance will get a public hearing.

On Tuesday the 17th of February at 6:30 PM the Pittsburgh City Council will hold a public heairng on council bills 0017 and 0018. These bills provide for the privatization of the city garage mechanics and all aspects of city fleet maintenance. Council's hands were tied concerning this hearing as a petition drive forced them to hold it.

Pittsburgh City Council wants to outsource its fleet maintenance and operations to First America. First America has three (3) divisions. 1)First Transit takes care of privatized (outsourced) bus and rail service. 2)First Student takes care of privatized (outsourced) school bus service. 3)First Vehicle takes care of privatized (outsourced) fleet maintencance and operations.

First America is anti-labor. In the St. Paul, Minnesota School District, First Student has sued the school board for allowing bus drivers to sign cards for union representation. In Los Angeles, California bus drivers recently went on strike against First Transit. The Los Angeles Metro Transit Authority had outsourced 12 bus routes to First Transit and the drivers on these routes simply wanted the same pay and benfits as the drivers on non outsourced routes were enjoying. First Transit stonewalled on these demands and dared the drivers to strike.

First America has a parent. First Group plc is the UK's largest bus operator and it is closing in fast on owning the UK rail market which has of course all been privatized.
First Group propaganda says, "Through global investment and innovation our international presence is stronger than ever." That's right. Now they are coming to Pittsburgh.

If you want to speak at the public hearing on the 17th of February at the City Council at 6:30 PM you must call the city clerk to register. The number is 412-255-2138.

I for one intend to stand against this neo-liberal make over of our city. I am willing to play by their rules for now. I will play Mr. Citizen and speak at meetings. I will play their game for now but if that does not work then I will play my game.

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