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Valley Metro bus staff votes to strike over COVID-19 concerns, citing alleged safety failures

Valley Metro strike could affect your commute
Posted at 9:01 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 12:01:51-04

PHOENIX — Some members of the Valley Metro bus staff have voted to strike, sounding the alarm about alleged failures in COVID-19 safety protocols.

Teamsters Local 104 announced Monday that the bus system's staff responsible for cleaning and fueling, employed by Transdev, unanimously voted to strike regarding COVID-19 safety.

Those representing the workers say they are demanding that Transdev signs a safety agreement in compliance with public health guidelines in order to keep the public and its workers safe.

The group says employees, along with hundreds of bus operators, report that "Transdev has repeatedly failed to follow the company's own COVID-19 safety policies, as well as local and federal COVID-19 safety guidelines throughout the pandemic." They say this includes not following corporate cleaning guidelines, not fogging possibly contaminated buses, not doing daily employee health screenings, not performing contact tracing, not providing sick leave, and not supporting employees who have had adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.

"At least three Transdev Phoenix workers have died from COVID-19, and according to incomplete records released by the company last week at least 90 frontline Transdev workers have contracted the virus. Additionally, as many as nineteen frontline Transdev employees believe they have passed the virus on to family members or others outside of work, and at least 15 workers have reported being harassed, mocked, or teased by Transdev supervisors for wearing face masks at work," the press release states.

Transdev's contract with the city of Phoenix states, according to a press release, that the company "must be in compliance with all applicable federal, state, local health, environmental and safety laws, regulations, standards, codes and ordinances."

The groups involved say the City of Phoenix and Mayor Kate Gallego are aware of the situation.