Coronavirus takes another life from DDOT community

TRU sends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Fred Westbrook, who recently passed away from COVID-19.

He recently retired after many years a president of Detroit’s bus drivers union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, fighting for fair treatment of bus riders. For 30 years, he negotiated bonuses for bus drivers if ridership increased, demanded police presence on buses, and otherwise worked for great buses for all Detroiters.

“During the years Fred and I worked together, he was a great partner in the progress we have made reforming DDOT and improving service. More than any other issue, Fred was a tireless advocate for the safety of his members and championed many of the steps we took to improve safety, such as establishing a dedicated transit police force and installing video cameras on all of our buses.”

“If you’ve noticed the improvements DDOT has made over the last several years, Fred was right there at the heart of making them happen. He leaves a great legacy and will be deeply missed.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, May 24, 2020, in a statement quoted in the Detroit Free Press
Mr. Westbrook was always at the forefront of Detroit bus issues, fighting to make sure drivers were treated with respected, such as at this 2019 press conference with top city officials.
Westbrook in 2015 with TRU Director Megan Owens and DDOT Director Dan Dirks

Fred Westbrook was a good man whom I deeply respected. DDOT has been able to bounce back over the last number of years. Fred was as responsible for that as anyone. He loved God, his family, his ATU members and everyone at DDOT. Please say a prayer for his family.

Former DDOT Director Dan Dirks on Facebook, 5/24/2010

I’ve known Fred Westbrook for several years as part of my work with Transportation Riders United. Fred was always a strong voice for DDOT drivers. He was also a strong voice for improving public transit in Detroit. His voice and his leadership will be missed.

Donald Stuckey Jr, TRU Board President