March 7, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Winnipeg, Canada – Two weeks after a city bus driver was murdered, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 is calling for better security. Irvine Jubal Fraser, 58, was stabbed to death about 2 a.m. on Feb. 14. A 22-year-old man who police say refused to get off Fraser’s bus at the end of the line has been charged with second-degree murder.
According to Local 1505, there were 60 reported assaults against drivers in 2015 in this city of 660,000, and 45 last year after undercover police began riding buses. “It ranges from punching, spitting, slapping, kicking, weapons, coffee thrown at them, beer cans, you name it,” union President John Callahan told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2016. Former driver Brian Lennox says he “had a complete mental collapse” after 31 years on the job in which he was the victim of eight assaults and saw eight shootings. Callahan says more than 100 of the 1,400 union transit workers in Winnipeg are on long-term leave, mostly for stress and trauma. A city commission study is due in May. Read more