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“We Just Deal With It”

Broken Promises - Bad Dreams, A Metro Investigation (Second in a series)

Metro workers say many are afraid to report safety problems

Metro entranceWASHINGTON, D.C. — Metro union workers claim Metro management is the biggest problem in guaranteeing safety.

According to Raymond Jackson, who represents Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Metro workers say they are afraid to report safety problems because supervisors react negatively when they do. Jackson, executive vice president of Local 689, said instances in which Metro workers fail to report safety concerns occur often, and they are more frequent than most realize. For many, not reporting safety issues is becoming second-nature.

“We’ve been dealing with it for so long, we just deal with it,” Jackson said. “You just deal with per se not working safe.”

ATU Local 689 spokesperson David Stephen said the union would not violate Metro policy through facilitating interviews for a reporter with frontline workers. 

“It is against their company policy,” Stephen said. “They can be fired for that. You’re asking our members to speak to you so they can get fired. I will not, absolutely not do that.”

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Metro union calls for increased police presence after bus driver’s recent assault

  • Published in Local

Metro union president press conference 9 1 17Metro Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter asks Metro leadership to increase police presence on more bus routes Friday.   PHOTO BY KATHLEEN STUBBS  A Metro union president said she continues to call for more police officers on buses after a passenger threw a cup of urine on a bus driver.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said she has been urgently requesting police officers on more Metro buses since she took a leadership position for the union 10 years ago.

She said during a press conference at Minnesota Avenue Station Friday at least one driver for the X2 bus route, on which the urine incident occurred a few days ago, requested a supervisor or police officer ride on board with them for protection. Jeter then said a male bus driver left Minnesota Avenue Station in tears early Friday after a supervisor ordered him to complete the route without the protection he requested.

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Metro fires another inspector

  • Published in Local

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Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has fired another track inspector in connection with falsifying reports, a former track inspector said Jan. 4.

David Stephen, spokesperson for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, said Jan. 5 that union members, including track inspectors, could not be available for interviews. Stephen said Metro’s firing individuals after safety issues occur fails to address the problems themselves.

“It’s their responsibility to hold the systemic problems of the system accountable, and they have not done that,” Stephen said of Metro.

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House joint committee grills Metro Board, union and FTA

  • Published in Local

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WASHINGTON – Members of a joint House committee pointed fingers at witnesses called to testify, including a federal safety official, Metro’s board chairman and a Metro union representative, during a hearing for Metro SafeTrack Friday. 

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and subcommittees on Transportation & Public Assets and Government Relation hosted the hearing.

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