OKC Streetcar workers unionize in fight for bathroom breaks

The OKC Streetcar – our high-dollar public transport system that ferries air and loneliness from one empty corner of downtown to the other – is in the news again, and this time it has nothing to do with pissing off Steve Lackmeyer!

Earlier this week, News 9 reported that OKC Streetcar drivers voted to form a worker’s union. Here are the basic details:

Operators of Oklahoma City’s streetcars have spoken, and majority say they want to start a union. Health and security concerns, even a lack of bathroom breaks are among the top concerns.

Mail-in ballots for voting were sent out in August and counted on September 22. The results, two out of three people voting say a union is necessary.

I’m a liberal dude, but I’m not a big fan of labor unions, or better yet, what labor unions in America have become. I think they served a great purpose in the 20th century, but just like corporations, government agencies, universities, religions and other large institutions, they’ve long been corrupted by money, power and politics, and seem more designed to enrich the people in charge as opposed to the people they’re actually supposed to benefit.

That worldview being said, I still think this is a good idea! Here are two reasons why:

1. It’s kind of funny to see a Chamber-backed MAPS III project become a union shop

2. It sets the stage for Street Car Union busting

Seriously, wouldn’t that be fun to watch? I can already see David Holt, along with an elite team of Thunder Girl commandos and Jones Assembly bartenders, crashing into a union rally on Lime Scooters while armed with selfie sticks.

According to one former OKC streetcar driver, a Union is necessary so the drivers can have bathroom breaks:

Darryl Williams learned Monday morning his job operating streetcars came to end.

Herzog Transit Services, EMBARK’s contractor for streetcars, fired him he said for driving violations. Williams believes there’s an underlying issue.

“Since they know that we are unionizing, their statement is we don’t like it and now we’re nitpicking,” said Williams.

Bathroom breaks are among concerns of Williams. Getting one while working, he said, was increasingly challenging.

“You try to get (a break and we’re told) we really don’t have anybody to give you a break right now, we need to keep the streetcar moving,” said Williams.

Williams said security has become an issue with homeless getting hostile like urinating, spitting and other actions on the streetcar. He also alleges lax cleaning procedures.

Do we really need to form a Union just so the drivers can get bathroom breaks? Just pull the thing over and run in somewhere! Sure, you may piss off Steve Lackmeyer, but it’s not like there are any passengers to pick up or dropoff.