GMT 10-24-2021

"We don't care. We don't have to. We are the phone company and we are omnipotent."
— Lily Tomlin as Ernestine the Switchboard Operator from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
All local dialing is now like long distance as of 12:00:01a.m. Oct. 24, 2021
Click above to find even scarier news

Jacob Marley's Freakers Ball @ City Hall
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-20-2021

Breaking News & Bulletins

The shape of things to come?
STORMY MONDAY, 10-11-2021 — On a lonely day out on the picket line in bitter cold, these two images converged on Channel 2's website. Coincidence? I don't think so. We played. We competed. We won. The adventure abides. Solidarity forever!


The bus strike's most important supporter
THE LEAST AMONG US SUPPORTING THE OPPRESSED — "Her name is Jo. She lives at the women's shelter and takes the bus to Record Street to eat. She has a heart condition that makes her legs swell so it is hard for her to walk. She is articulate and easy to talk to. She told me she takes the bus to go to her doctor. With the buses not running, she didn't know how she would get there." (Photo and caption by Teamsters Local 533 bus operator Mike Humes)
      Note of Concern: The Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce implores both sides of the transit strike to come together and engage in good-faith bargaining for the sake of our members and their employees, many of whom rely on public transportation to maintain their jobs and sustain their lives.
Ann Silver, Executive Director, Chamber Briefing 10/5/2021

Bus riders face disruptive schedule in strike's 2nd week
Negotiations scheduled to resume October 7
By Kristin Oh / 10-5-2021 / Reno Gazette-Journal front page lead item above the fold 10-6-2021

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RTC bus strike ends, negotiations to continue
By Jason Hidalgo / 10-21-2021 / Reno Gazette-Journal front page lead story 10-22-2021


(RENO, Nev.) — Teamsters Local 533 has reached a tentative agreement with Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County mass transit contractor Keolis Transit on scheduling, time off and a number of other issues. Union members begin returning to work tomorrow after striking for the second time in three months. Negotiations on remaining contract articles will resume on October 28 as they work towards finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement which must be ratified by majority vote.
     "We have reached a tentative agreement on the bidding procedures which were the issue in the recent strike," stated Local 533 President Gary Watson.
    "A compensated shop steward will now oversee all scheduling bids and the bidding process," he added.
    "We also settled 18 other items. Next week, we begin bargaining over wages and pension provisions and grievance procedures," Watson stated.
    "We still have economic and non-economic issues to resolve, For instance, we tentatively agreed on paid lactation breaks for nursing mothers, reasonable intervals not to exceed 20 minutes in a clean and locked room designated for lactation.
    "Victims of domestic violence will receive three days of paid leave where state law only allows for 20 unpaid days. Keolis will now have less time to discipline employees. Members in maintenance will receive $150 more per year in boot allowance and $400 more in tool allowance per year. Many other items were either maintained or improved. 
    "Reno City Councilmember and RTC Chair Neoma Jardon observed the last two days of negotiations and will be involved when we meet to bargain the rest starting October 28. We hope to complete negotiations with the company on compensation, disciplinary rules and other issues within the next two to three weeks. Then, the members can vote.
    "Between both of the strikes our members stood strong on the line for 35 days and they are ready to pound the pavement again if provoked. They educated the passengers and the public, they marched to city hall and delivered passionate statements at RTC board meetings.
    "Most importantly they took care of each other when a sister or brother was down and out," Watson said.
    “Working class people need to know it’s time for us to unite,” said Local 533 Driver and Shop Steward Michael Lansborough who serves on the negotiating committee.
    “Taxpayers need to unite not only individually by forming unions, but also unite as a whole to beat down this corrosive corporate attitude that companies can just walk all over anyone and everyone,” Lansborough added.
    Chartered in 1934, Teamsters Union Local 533 represents about 2,200 workers in various trades throughout northern Nevada and eastern California, including about 200 RTC/Keolis employees.


Tue, 19 Oct 2021 18:13:43 (PDT) / 01:13:43 GMT 10-20-2021 —
From: Gary Watson <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2021 18:13:38 -0700
Subject: Tentative Agreement on Bidding - Strike is Over
To:, Debbie Calkins <>,
Chris Fuqua <>, Ross Kinson <>

Brothers and Sisters:

We have reached a tentative agreement on the bidding procedures (Document Attached). The 20% on the extra board will now have a home with a weekly block bid. The 80% will continue to bid cafeteria style. We have also reached tentative agreements on roughly 18 other articles. We still have open items such as Management Rights, Grievance Procedure, Holidays, Pension, Wages and Drug and Alcohol. We will be meeting with the company on October 28, 2021 to continue the bargaining process.

The strike has officially ended as of this tentative agreement on bidding. Members can go back to work tomorrow, (Wednesday) but on Wednesday you will be subject to drive what the company has available. On Thursday at 12:01am you will return to full service and your normal bid.

On behalf of the 533 Leadership and the Bargaining Committee, we are all proud of each and every one of you that showed heart and dedication on the Picket Line. You stood strong, so we could continue to fight on!

In Solidarity,

Debbie Calkins, Gary Watson, Chris Fuqua, Ross Kinson, Michael Guerra, Pepp Monteleon, Eric Martelle, Michael Lansborough, Carl Kincaid,  Amanda Nelson & Jennifer Fenton

Update 5:44 p.m. PDT 10-19 / 00:44 GMT 10-20-2021 — KOLO TV-8 is reporting that Regional Transportation of Washoe County Chair Neoma Jardon has tweeted that the Teamsters transit strike is over after 23 days and that service will resume on Thursday. All three RTC services will provide free rides for the next month.

Teamsters 533 President Gary Watson told KTVN TV-2 News that 80 percent of issues had been agreed upon but that does not mean another strike cannot happen. Additional talks are scheduled. As always, union members must vote to ratify a new contract. Stay tuned.

Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:09:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gary Watson <>
Subject: Important Announcement

Brothers and Sisters:

I have a very important announcement to make, all members should be on the Picket Line at 4pm at 4SS (4TH STREET STATION IN DOWNTOWN RENO).

Very Important!

In Solidarity,

Gary Watson, President
Teamsters Local 533
(775) 348-6060 ext. 104

CHICKEN SPIN: Regional Transportation Commission and Keolis-19 shovel their barnyard

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2021 17:41:48 -0700
From: Andrew Barbano <>
Subject: RTC reneges on Uber/Lyft vouchers
Cc: Gary Watson <> ,,, Neoma Jardon <>,,, Denise Thompson <>, Lauren Ball <>,

TO: News Media
From: Andrew Barbano

This just came in from a striking Teamsters driver: "Passengers trying to get vouchers at (downtown Reno's) 4th Street Station are being denied (Uber/Lyft vouchers) if they are running a bus on that route regardless of frequency."

You may find a story therein. I will send a copy of this item to RTC but as you will note hereinbelow, my e-mails have not been surviving their moat monsters.

You may contact Teamsters Local 533 President Gary Watson for comment.

Be well. Raise hell.


March in Solidarity with Riders & Workers

Saturday, October 16
12noon: Meet at the (200 East) 4th Street RTC Bus Station / March to Reno City Hall BELIEVE Plaza (N. Virginia at E. 1st)
12:30-2p.m.: Rally at BELIEVE Plaza featuring Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus


Downtown Reno march in support of striking transit workers
Featuring afflicted passengers, Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus,
Northern Nevada Central Labor Council/AFL-CIO President Mike Pilcher, Teamsters 533 Business Agent Ross Kinson YouTube Video / 10-16-2021

Photojournalist Michelle Reneé Dumont covers the action

Sign the "Fire Keolis" Petition

4th Street Station (downtown) at 200 E. 4th Street, 8:00am to 8:00pm Daily
RTC Villanova facility by Wooster High School at 2050 Villanova Drive
8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday

Join us for the RTC Board Meeting: Friday, Oct. 15 at 9:00a.m. PDT
Washoe County Commission Chambers, 1001 E. 9th St. just east of Wells Ave. (Building A)

BREAKING NEWS 10:54 a.m. PDT 10-14-2021 (RTC Washoe @RTCWashoe) — "We have decided to pull the public hearing regarding reduction of transit service from Friday's board meeting agenda. We are sensitive to how these changes affect our riders and RTC is not moving forward with the proposal to reduce RIDE, ACCESS or FlexRIDE service at this time." [EDITOR'S NOTE: GEE, you'd never know there's a strike on with almost zero RTCRide bus service and the specialty systems for seniors and disabled stunted after they were shunted to cover fragments of RIDE routes, as they were in the Hot August Strike.]

BACK TO BUREAUCRATIC PROPAGANDA: "The RTC is anticipating potential transit service changes beginning in January due to unprecedented staffing shortages of drivers regionally and nationwide, a consequence of the pandemic."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: ...AND a consequence of the system being run by a morally obtuse for-profit foreign contractor which has refused to enforce COVID-19 safety mandates, infecting and hospitalizing drivers and support staff — and threatening them with firing if they try to make moonhowlers mask up. Oh, yeah, and trying to bust the workers' union.]

Other than that, have a nice day.

VIDEO: Regional Transportation Commission hearing
Union members, passengers, business owners and community leaders speak in support of transit workers
YouTube Video / 10-15-2021

Barbwire Banned by Busted Bus System
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-13-2021

Keolis-19's warm & fuzzy is actually a moldy oldie

Why can Keolis-19 post propaganda on RTC property but workers cannot?
Prepare to be shocked, shocked, by the answer.

Busted bus system: High-paid pimps & thieves
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-6-2021

Striking blows for justice
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-29-2021

Continuing Updates
Teamsters Local 533 strikes foreign-owned RTC bus contractor Keolis Transit

Reno-Sparks transit system nears implosion
Transit bosses announce mask mandate compliance, then admit they won't enforce
Drivers and mechanics quit, foreign-owned corporation prospers
Mask mandate compliance still ignored. Businesses impacted.
Union calls for contractor firing

Breaking News & Bulletins

James Bilbray, Jr.: Shakespearean Arthurian
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-22-2021

Alabaster Bastion bucks up superspreaders
Dirty words to remember on the Ides of September
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno
Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-15-2021

Teamsters handbill downtown Reno bus terminal
Charges filed against transit bosses for cell-block bidding
Foreign corporation ignores union contract offer, insists on running scheduling from Texas
Mask mandate compliance still ignored

We have met the enemy and he is us
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-8-2021


Déjà vu all over again
Transit bosses announce mask mandate compliance, then admit they won't enforce
Foreign contractor refuses to negotiate with Teamsters
RENO, Nev. (9-1-2021) — "Who's in charge here?" asked Teamsters Local 533 President Gary Watson.
[Much more]

Hail to the Chief
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-1-2021

The bitter taste of positive PR
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 8-25-2021

Union president excoriates Regional Transportation Commissioners' dereliction

Eternal reruns of toxic movies and PR spin
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 8-18-2021

BREAKING NEWS 8-16-2021 5:00 pm PDT / 00:00 8-17 (midnight) GMT

GARY WATSON, President
Teamsters Union Local 533
(775) 348-6060 ext. 104

Keolis Transit refuses to meet with union

BREAKING NEWS 8-12-2021 11:00 pm PDT —
Teamsters win on health care, end Reno-Sparks transit strike

Bus bosses sic cops & doorshaker goons on peaceful picketers

"I wept because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet"

On the smoky streets of Reno, Nevada

Union leader Logan Lansborough, seated.

     "My son Logan, in the wheelchair, was born with congenital absence of the tibia. At 17 months old, Logan had an operation to amputate both his legs. When Keolis first took over the transit system contract, I was trying to get Logan some new prosthetic legs but the company making the legs told me that Anthem/Blue Cross/Blue Shield had informed them that I had been terminated from Keolis employment — which was untrue. I had never missed work other than doctors appointments while Keolis always continued to deduct my premiums." — 
Michael Lansborough, union member and bus operator.

While Logan rallies his dad and his supporters for justice

Logan Lansborough and his fellow trade unionists taking the heat and bringing heat to the streets of Reno in the quest for workplace dignity and fairness. Feel free to pick up a sign and join them any day and into the evening at the downtown bus station, 200 E. 4th Street, Reno 89501.


Call (775) 348-0477 option 2 to obtain a $20 UberX voucher from RTC. Tell them Bill Thomas sent you by. Take the free Uber ride to the strike line, get dropped off at the bus in the sky, snap a pic and hashtag the RTC on anti-social media —> #RTCfreerides2picket / After all, they are just spending your taxpayer money so you might as well get some of it back and this certainly qualifies as an emergency measure. Anytime some greedy boss tries to take away a family's health care, that's an emergency. RTC has illegally killed off shuttles for senior citizens and the disabled and forced those employees to work as strikebreakers servicing tourism.

By taking the money (you can get two $20 vouchers good thru August 31*), you're just helping the town to party down, stop worrying and learn to love the plague. So drop your linen and start your grinnin' — masks down, drink up, ROCK AND ROLL!

Be well. Raise hell. Stay cool. Stay safe — and please don't breathe Nevada air unless absolutely necessary.

* Are you surprised that these guys would stop the party just before Labor Day weekend?

Get on your hiking boots and pick up a picket
Featuring Logan Lansborough / Hot August Strike poster child
BARBWIRE BY ANDREW BARBANO / Expanded from the 8-11-2021 Sparks (Nev.) Tribune


Coalition of community organizations join Teamsters picket lines
By Ben Margiott / KRNV TV-4/KRXI TV-11 / 8-10-2021

Community organizations join Teamsters picket lines on 8th day of strike
By Jeri Chadwell / 8-10-2021

Continuing Updates
Teamsters Local 533 strikes foreign-owned RTC bus contractor Keolis Transit

January-July 2021 U-News Front Page Headlines

Memo to modern short attention spaniels: This front page is chronological, the site map is categorical.
SITE NAVIGATION TIP: When all else fails, read the instructions
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The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006


The Lady in the Red Dress
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The compleat history of the Silver State in 500 words


Je Suis Charlie

30+ years of Barbwire Archives thru today


Navigating the flagship—>Making quick work of

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS DEPT.—> A year or so back, I got my first criticism in more than two decades that this site is a bit confusing to navigate. I take that as a compliment. Confusing people is one of my few talents.
    I thought I had anticipated any such problems years ago by liberally sprinkling links to the front page site map. (These days, am I supposed to say that I sprinkled progressively rather than liberally?)
    The front page of acts as a chronological listing of recent workplace news with the latest at the top. I archive annually to create a continuous permanent record fully accessible via the site map or any garden-variety websearch.
    "We Don't Need No Education" is now approaching its 100th installment and long ago earned its own section inside. Say hi to Don Quixote.
    Current Barbwires plus more than 20 years of columaniacal archives, the Statewide News Roundup and Breaking News/Bull'tins/Almanac are all available via the site map—>as well as the usual general or specific ongoing madness and historical inflammation. (Once something's posted here or to any of my other sites, it's up forever.)
    While the front page is chronological, the Statewide News Roundup is categorical, e.g., construction, hospitality, legislation, health care and many others. Breaking News/Bull'tins/Almanac often publishes original U-News as well as links to items at other sites that are not hot enough for the front page chronology. The search engine acts as a short-cut to everything, depending on what you seek. So simply seek and ye shall find.
    As my old friend Wise John the Lake Havasu Cropduster Pilot often says, "when all else fails, read the instructions." So when all else fails, re-read the above, then go to the nearest site map link and/or "search." The search engine is really amazing. It's also union-signatory and thus quite efficient.
    Thanks for your inputs and support over lo, these many years. Keep up the good work and the good fight.
    Esté bien. Haga infierno. / Be well. Raise hell.

—> Andrew the Barbwire Man

Political Animal Crackers & Crackups

      "I think it is dangerous to confuse the idea of democracy with elections. Just because you have elections doesn't mean you are a democracy...I'm still taken aback at the extent of indoctrination and propaganda in the United States. It is as if people there are being reared in a sort of altered reality, like broiler chickens or pigs in a pen."

Indian novelist Arundhati Roy
in the Barbwire of 9-12-2004

The American electorate is a dumb cow that follows the herd, is easily stampeded, gets milked for all she's worth and produces offspring for meat, muscle or cannon fodder to benefit the few. When all used up, she is sent to the slaughterhouse so that she may give her overlords the last full measure of devotion, bones for Jello and hide for belts. No stars and stripes for her grave because she doesn't merit one, having been totally consumed by our consumptive system.
Barbwire 9-12-2010

"If elections mattered, they wouldn't let us do it." Travus T. Hipp, 1982

Great Minds Think Alike Dept.
Over-rated New York Times Pulitzer over-achiever Thomas Friedman predicts emergence of a third political party a month after the Barbwire did so for the umpteenth time (He's just one short.)
Paul Krugman: Murdoch as Citizen Kane / GOP candidates paid off by Faux News
New York Times 10-4-2010

Editor's Note: Many of the news links on this site are from Nevada dailies. In late 2006, the Reno Gannett-Journal began nuking much of its archive. If you encounter any broken links, I encourage you to contact them and send me a copy. On the one hand, they want to build their web traffic in order to increase the price of ads. On the other hand, they are killing that very traffic. Far be it from me to reconcile the Dilbert-style motivations of an outfit for which a 38 percent net profit is not enough. If you can explain it, please enlighten me. (Before you e-mail me, please read this bulletinAB) UPDATE: In early 2008, the Las Vegas Sun "upgraded " its website, nuking more than a dozen years of links. If you find an orphaned Sun story, search their site for the title. Site Directory

Navigating the flagship—>Making quick work of

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The tale of our gorgeous union-created graphics

In 2002, we were honored to produce the Centennial Book for the 100th anniversary of the founding of northern Nevada Painters and Allied Trades Local 567/AFL-CIO. Working on a short time frame, we cast a nationwide net for appropriate cover art and succeeded beyond our wildest dreams thanks to muralists Kathleen Scarboro and Kathleen Farrell. The above illustration ("Papering the World: Joliet's Wallpaper Industry") appeared on the cover and interior of Local 567's Centennial Book, copies of which have been submitted to Nevada libraries and historical organizations. The mural, painted on a wall in Joliet, Illinois, depicts Painters Union members manufacturing wallpaper the old fashioned way, long about the time of Local 567's founding. Ms. Farrell is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades/AFL-CIO. Ms. Scarboro is a member of the Maison des Artists in Paris, the association which represents artists in France.

Ms. Farrell executes murals, mosaics and figurative sculptures for the labor movement. Her work and that of others may be viewed at the Friends of Community Public Art web site. "We have added new table top size sculptures for sale as well as additions of our life size sculptures," she says. "A number of the sculptures feature union members including the Baseball Player (The Catch) and The Firefighter. I have also finished the rad workers sculpture I mentioned awhile back. I welcome work from unions that would like to buy the existing sculptures or hire me to create awards, tabletop size sculptures and life size sculptures."

Sister Farrell may be contacted at; phone (815) 722-4140; fax (815) 722-9007. You may view more of her work and obtain additional contact information at

Rotating at the top of this site as well as in pastel form in the background of this page is a mural produced for the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union/AFL-CIO. The others were acrylics on canvas done for the United Food and Commercial Workers and to memorialize the plight of U.S. chicken processing workers (si podemos). Enjoy.

Be well. Raise hell.

Murals/montages copyright © Kathleen Farrell

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