Transit workers have been calling for Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to create and enforce a safety culture since the fatal 2009 Red Line accident, ATU Local 689 Jackie Jeter will testify at the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing Friday morning. “Five years ago, Local 689 testified in support of retraining plans, routine recertification and equipment upgrades,” Jeter says. “While we commend the improvements made since the 2009 accident, we must point out that WMATA has not met the necessary task of developing a safety culture...”
Friday’s hearing is being called in response to the deadly smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza Metro station on January 12, which had one fatality and injured nearly 40 people. Jeter plans to restate many of the safety measures that the union has been calling for since the 2009 accident that killed nine, including the train operator.
In Jeter’s testimony, she will outline the three main areas of safety that the union believes should be prioritized, including investing in training for the entire workforce and continuous re-training, changing the perception of retaliation by workforce for making reports on unsafe conditions, and holding management to the same standards of education and preparation as employees.
“Local 689 is, as always, dedicated to the safety of our members and the riding public,” Jeter says.