MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The president of the labor union for Metro Transit employees says more than 100 employees are currently in self-isolation.
Ryan Timlin of Amalgamated Transit Union (Local 1005) tells WCCO that the biggest issue has been a lack of personal protective equipment for the employees. Cleaners especially are in “direct contact with biohazards.”
According to Timlin, due to the lack of COVID-19 testing available there have not been any confirmed cases of coronavirus among Metro Transit workers. He says more than 100 members have some symptoms and may have been exposed. They are staying at home in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Despite a 40% reduction in Metro Transit’s services amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Timlin says Metro Transit is not laying off any of its employees. Instead the organization is working to keep employees busy doing other things.
The transit union recently found someone who is making reusable face masks locally — and they say they’ve put in an order for masks for all of their members, as well as workers at First Transit in Rochester.
Across the country, some transit operators have died from COVID-19 related causes. ATU1005 has a total membership close to 2,600 workers, including drivers, mechanics and cleaners. They are asking riders to cover their mouths before getting on a bus.