CHICAGO, June 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Union, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters, representing Metra's track, building and bridges construction and maintenance workers charged today that Metra's lack of testing and tracing for the Covid-19 virus is negligent. Metra has denied repeated requests by the Union to begin general testing and tracing of the employees to contain the Covid-19 virus. This refusal puts the employees who work on the railroad and the passengers who use the railroad at greater risk. All medical and public health authorities have stated that testing and tracing must be included in an effective strategy to contain the spread of the virus. Metra relies upon a system of self-reporting which is ineffective and does not include the substantial number of those infected who have the virus with no symptoms but can infect other workers and passengers. Other major urban transit agencies like SEPTA and New Jersey Transit already have general testing procedures in place.
Transportation workers like Metra workers are deemed essential workers and have been showing up for work despite the extreme risks involved with contracting the virus. The rate of infection and death from the Covid-19 virus is significantly higher for transportation workers as a result. Metra recently received an additional 500 million dollars from the Federal government to sustain itself and to institute protocols to contain the pandemic because it provides this essential service.
Jed Dodd, Vice President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes stated, "The failure of Metra management to institute a general testing program for the employees for the virus is outrageous and puts workers and passengers at needless risk. While we will continue to show up for America it is time that Metra management show up for the workers and passengers and do their jobs to protect us."
The Union will begin informational picketing at Metra Board Chairperson Norman Carlson's house in Lake Forest, IL at 3 PM on June 23, 2020.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes is a division of the Teamsters Union that represent 30 thousand men and women who construct and maintain the railroad track, buildings and bridges and overhead catenary systems of the Americas freight and passenger railroads.
SOURCE Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters