ATU International President John A. Costa released the following statement to mark this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday:
“This Monday, as people across the world honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ATU will hold a memorial celebration of the life of our recently-departed International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens.
“Oscar was the most revered and beloved African American leader in our Union, and like Dr. King, he devoted his life to fighting for racial equality and economic justice for our members, our riders and all working people.
“Like Dr. King, Oscar believed ‘Urban transit systems in most American cities have become a genuine civil rights issue.’
“Oscar was a strong voice for civil rights and an advocate for the rightful place of African Americans within the leadership of our Union and the entire labor movement. As one of the founders of the ATU Black Caucus, Oscar was unafraid to call out injustice.“Yet, anyone who had the privilege of knowing Oscar couldn’t help being uplifted by his ready smile, upbeat attitude, and genuine compassionate concern for every person with whom he came into contact.
“As we celebrate Oscar’s life, we at the ATU pledge to honor his legacy by continuing to fight as bravely, boldly and kindly as he did for equity and justice for all.”