The Metro Electronic Device Policy 5.03 (b)(1) states, “Using an electronic device while engaged in maintenance activities that require full attention for safe performance, such as, but not limited to, inspecting track or using power equipment, is prohibited.” The policy 6.05 goes on to state that first failure will result in a 5-day suspension.
“When members of ATU Local 689 get caught in violation of the electronic device policy they are almost always disciplined,” said Raymond Jackson, Second Vice President of ATU Local 689. “It is disgraceful that Metro can hire contractors, allow them to do shoddy work that Local 689 members have to go behind them to fix, and then openly violate WMATA policy and put riders in danger with no repercussion.”
Like the video of the bus operator, this photo is a reminder of the double standard in treatment and discipline between ATU Local 689 Metro workers and private contractors who get held to relaxed safety standards. Unlike ATU Local 689 members, these contracted track workers, who are hired to ensure the safety of the railroad, do not take the same drug testing, nor are they subject to the same criminal background checks.
“Contractors have no accountability,” says Jackson. “ Even when contractors get precise instructions, they will still do as they please because if an incident occurs, they can walk away blameless and throw the blame at Local 689 members. These contractors have no vested interested in our safety or why we have the safety rules that we do. Privatization is only about Metro making it appear that they are saving money when they are wasting it. Unfortunately, Metro is going to continue on this path of ramping up privatization until someone is hurt or killed, but even then they will still look for a way to blame a Local 689 members, as they have in the past.”
ATU Local 689 is, again, calling on Metro to utilize its workforce first as a cost-saving and safety measure to protect the riding public. Failure to do so will continue to amplify that the leadership of Metro, headed by Paul Wiedefeld, is not committed to a safe ride for Metro’s passengers.