Los Angeles Pulls Out Of Charlotte Transit Convention

Early this month the American Public Transportation Association, which was founded in 1882 and has 1500 member organizations, said they really wish they could cancel their May convention in Charlotte over North Carolina’s hate law, but are unable to nullify their contract. On Friday, the head of Los Angeles Metro announced that his employees are banned from attending. From his email:

Early last month (March, 2016) the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, enacted an ordinance to protect its LGBT residents from discrimination. On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, North Carolina’s governor signed a controversial bill that reversed the city’s decision by enacting a statewide ban on such protections. APTA supports the city of Charlotte ordinance and was disappointed to see that the North Carolina governor took steps to reverse the city’s decision to protect all citizens.

As a result, there have been calls for a boycott of North Carolina and APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Conference, and some governments have enacted official travel restrictions for their employees. I have given this issue some thought over the last couple of days and though I came to a decision earlier in the week, I wanted to first take the time to confer with our Labor/Union Leadership and the employee participants in this year’s APTA Bus Roadeo. That said, I have decided to join several other transit agencies in not allowing employees to travel to the state of North Carolina for the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference.

I do not make this decision lightly, because I realize that many of our employees have been practicing and preparing for the bus roadeo and maintenance competition. However, as I conveyed in my first document to employees a year ago – the “Ready to Serve” document where I outlined “Some of the things that you can expect from me” — I have “Zero tolerance for confirmed theft, sexual harassment/assault, racial/gender discrimination, etc.” This fits into that zero tolerance category.