News: Transit workers have been calling for the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority to create and enforce a safety culture since the fatal 2009 Red Line accident, ATU Local 689 president Jackie Jeter testified last Friday. “Five years ago, Local 689 testified in support of retraining plans, routine recertification and equipment upgrades,” Jeter told the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “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 was called in response to the deadly smoke incident at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station on January 12, which killed one and injured nearly 40 people. Jeter outlined three main areas of safety that the union believes should be prioritized, including investing in training and continuous re-training for the entire workforce, changing the perception by Metro workers that they may face retaliation for reporting unsafe conditions, and holding management to the same standards of education and preparation as workers.
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Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1926, a 17-week general strike of 12,000 New York furriers began, in which Jewish workers formed a coalition with Greek and African American workers and became the first union to win a 5-day, 40-hour week.
And in 2011, all public schools in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin were closed as teachers called in sick to protest Governor Scott Walker’s plans to gut their collective bargaining rights.
In honor of President’s Day, today’s labor quote is by Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States:
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”