ATU 689 on Friday charged that Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) ignored safety issues raised by an National Transportation Safety Board report on the July 29 Metro Rail derailment and instead pandered to her "right-wing Donald Trump-supporting constituents in this campaign season" by blaming workers. The union, which represents more than 13,000 workers at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, MetroAccess and the DC Streetcar, said it's "extremely disturbed by the derailment last week and we continue our decade-long call for investment in the system through worker training and development, as well as funding to make the system safe, affordable, and reliable for the customers we serve." The union challenged Comstock’s assertion that there are 42 track workers per track mile in the Metro Rail system, saying that "In reality, there are 42 track walkers for all 117 miles of Metro Rail, which means that teams of 2 workers are responsible for 5-6 miles of track, each day." Local 689 also took issue with Comstock's claim that track workers are paid “substantially more than other systems,” citing research reflects that Metro track walkers "are on par with their counterparts in New York, Boston and the Bay Area Rail Transit (BART) system." Instead of fighting Metro workers who must do more with less because of inadequate funding , Local 689 suggested that "Comstock should be standing with us at Local 689 as we fight for dedicated funding and an effective safety culture."
Click here for ATU 689's complete statement. photo: ATU 689 president Jackie Jeter at the July 31 rally for dedicated transit funding; photo courtesy ATU 689 Facebook page