Valley Metro workers push for ‘safe service’ as COVID-19 cases rise among employees

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Recently, a total of eight Valley Metro workers have contracted COVID-19.

With that in mind, ATU Local 1493-Raleigh, NC, the Union representing Valley Metro workers, is calling on the transit agency to implement critical safe service policies to better protect frontline transit workers as well as riders.

“The hard-working men and women of Valley Metro have been providing critical transportation services getting essential workers to their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic began. With COVID cases and deaths exploding, the fear for our safety and our riders’ safety has finally reached a tipping point. Eight members have recently tested positive for coronavirus. We have riders who refuse to keep their masks on. We need stronger safety measures and smaller passenger limits. We are asking Valley Metro to please keep our transit system safe. We have families to go home to.”

Percival Patterson, President of ATU Local 1493, representing Valley Metro Workers in Roanoke, VA.

The Union also pointed to the recently-passed $900 billion COVID stimulus package which provides $14 billion in emergency funding for transit systems which allows all transit agencies maximum flexibility to use the funding for operating assistance to pay workers and keep service running for frontline workers.

The bill also allows agencies to use the funds to purchase PPE items including masks, gloves and cleaning supplies.

The Union says they are “demanding” that Valley Metro institute policy changes and deliver PPE for keeping the transit system running, which includes:

  • Rear-door entry to support social distancing
  • Rider mask enforcement
  • Passenger limits on vehicles to support social distancing

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