As reported in the last issue of this paper, Local 533 filed a lawsuit against Keolis Transit for not mandating that bus customers wear masks to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers. This failure has resulted in more than two dozen drivers and some support workers contracting COVID-19 over the last several months.
“Social distancing seems to be a thing of the past,” said Local 533 President Gary Watson. “Some buses pack in passengers like sardines at peak hours but the foreign-owned management contractor will not dispatch additional vehicles to relieve overcrowding.
“Everyone else is running at 25 percent capacity. Why not the transit system? With masks,” the union leader demanded. Watson pointed out that the company enforces mask-wearing in Europe where it is based.
The union has called for free ongoing testing for drivers and support staff as well as using Regional Transportation (RTC) security to enforce the governor’s mandate, especially as neither the sheriff nor the police department will aid in the safety of the bus system.
New contract at Tahoe Transit
Secretary-Treasurer Debbie Calkins reports that members at the Tahoe Transit District overwhelmingly ratified their new contract. Business Agent Chris Fuqua negotiated raises of 3% this year and up to 4% per year for the remainder of the contract, five additional holidays, and many other language improvements. “Fuqua and the members did a great job,” Calkins adds.