The company that operates the D.C. Circulator and ATU Local 1764, that represents the workers, have agreed to increase wages with the kind of raises that will bring the bus drivers’ salaries on par with those of Metrobus drivers. Read more here.
Today we learned that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will conduct extensive track work on a project called “SafeTrack” over a months-long timetable throughout the system’s rail lines. The rehabilitation project will include extended periods of single tracking and some station closings, beginning next month.
These repairs will likely be a great inconvenience to our customers. As Metro’s largest union and representative of the rail and bus operators, station managers and the maintenance and clerical workers of this system, we stand ready to get the appropriate work done within the outlined timetable to minimize that inconvenience. We also share General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s desire to build up the confidence of the customers we serve, and we hope that these repairs will lead to that by making our system up to date and safe.
Local 689 Responds to Inaccurate Characterization by Washington Post on Unions's Stance on Metro Safety
As Metro’s largest union, representing bus and rail operators, station managers, maintenance, and clerical staff of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), much of what was discussed at Tuesday’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing was not only information that this union has known, but has continuously called on WMATA to fix.
The members of Local 689 are unfairly blamed on a constant basis for the shortcomings of Metro, but the facts from the NTSB report tell a different story and that is what needs to be addressed. We have been at the forefront of the safety culture conversation for years. The headline of the Washington Post article “Metro trains with passengers sent to investigate reports of smoke in tunnels? Union says it never heard of that,” is misleading in implying WMATA workers don’t understand the safety issues of the system that we serve day in and day out.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689, issues the following statement after the Metrobus hijacking incident in Northeast Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning:
This morning, according to multiple news outlets, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a Metrobus that was driven by a hijacker. The hijacker also assaulted the Metrobus operator, who is currently hospitalized, to take control of the bus.
All workers have a right to be safe at work, and all riders have a right to feel safe when they board a train or bus. In 2014, more than 170 Metrobus operators reported being assaulted by a rider while on the job. In 2015, that number exponentially grew and included a horrifying incident where a station manager at Stadium-Armory Metro Station was stabbed, and another incident where a bus operator was caught in gun crossfire outside his bus in Southeast D.C. But those two incidents are two of a list that is far too long.
Last month, Local 689 launched the #TransitLivesMatter campaign to engage with the public on the multiple safety issues and concerns that we, the front-line employees of Metro, deal with daily. The list of incidents of Metro workers being spat on, slapped, stabbed, tased or shot at continues to grow longer every week, and it will only grow longer in the warm weather if Metro continues to ineffectively address this issue.
This union, representing more than 9,000 of the operators, station managers, clerks and mechanics of Metro, is calling upon Metro to take action and immediately increase police presence. The lives of transit employees and our riders are depending on it.
Local 689 is committed to standing with the community and WMATA management to make sure that any avoidable assaults never happen again, and it is the hope of this union that the leaders at Metro will stand with us.