“Our labor is our weapon.”

Ken Franklin, me, Debra Lane, Clem Balanoff, Mike Klonsky and Elmondo Pass on Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

I liked Ken Franklin the moment he walked into our Lumpen Radio studio for our broadcast/podcast of Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers a couple of weeks ago.

You can hear the podcast here.

Ken Franklin is president of Local 308 of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

I wrote about their issue with the city’s Second Chance program which I posted here.

He was joined in our studio by his union brother and sister Elmondo Pass and Debra Lane.

When you read about Chicago unions it is usually about the Chicago Teachers Union. And for good reason. The CTU has led the way in fighting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attack on public sector unionism.

But at every rally in support of the CTU I have ever attended, there were union workers from the ATU.

Ken Franklin is a no-nonsense guy.

And so are the union’s rank and file men and women members. 98% are in favor of a strike. Union officials say members have been working without a contract for 18 months.

The Chicago Transit Authority workers are represented by two Locals. Local 308 represents the rail workers. Local 241 represents the bus operators.

Local 241 is also bargaining a new agreement.

Local 308 and Local 241 are fighting for what you would expect:  Improved wages and working conditions.

Chicago CTU management claims the contract forbids a strike.

But like I said. Ken Franklin is a no-nonsense guy and his members are standing tall.

“Our labor is our weapon,” said Ken Franklin.

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