We chat with Erek Slater, a bus operator for the Chicago Transit Authority, where he’s been working for the past 15 years. Erek is a family man, a father, and a three-term elected shop steward and executive board member of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241. We talk about his working life and all that goes into being a bus operator, all the things that passengers never see — even though we depend on workers like Erek every day to live our lives. We also talk about Erek’s experience as a shop steward and about his unshakeable commitment to honor, justice, and empowering the working class. In fact, it was because he stood up for these things that he was unjustly dismissed from his job in May.
Maximillian Alvarez is a writer and editor based in Baltimore and the host of Working People, “a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.