Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

04/08/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/08/2020 07:37

ATU demands protection for frontline transit workers

With more than 40 transit workers, including 13 Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) members, dying after contracting COVID-19, the ATU is demanding that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) immediately provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for all transit workers on America's transit systems. 'The last month has been incredibly challenging,' said ATU Local 689 president Raymond Jackson. 'Our workers have been on the front lines of a global health pandemic. It is essential that we keep our members safe and make sure that every one of them has PPE. We've been working closely with WMATA to keep our members protected and get them the equipment they need.' The ATU is calling for every worker who operates or maintains a transit vehicle to - at a minimum - be equipped with an N95 disposable respirator, gloves, and other critical gear. Despite federal funding, some agencies are citing cost and refusing. Others are making an effort but cannot identify sellers. 'It is unconscionable and immoral to send transit employees to work without PPE during this health crisis,' said ATU President John Costa. 'Our members provide essential public services, making sure that people can get to the doctor, the pharmacy, and the grocery store. But they cannot be expected to keep doing it while putting their lives in danger.'
photo: crowded bus in Grand Rapids, MI last week