Local union calls for more safety measures, hazard pay for GLTC bus drivers

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - 'What do you want?' 'Safety!' 'When do you want it?' 'Now!'

In a rally outside the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company transfer station Wednesday, a union that represents GLTC drivers had a message:

“The company says that safety is their first priority, but do they practice safety?” said Percival Patterson.

Patterson is the president of the local union. He says GLTC is not taking the right steps to protect its drivers, mechanics and customers from COVID-19.

“Somebody tested positive and you hid it. You hide it from your employees and when you hide something, then they’re not aware,” said Patterson.

“The company is also having positive cases that they are not reporting to the union. The union is having to find out from the workers,” said Cliff Headrick.

Headrick is the local union’s executive board member.

Aside from a lack of communication from GLTC, he says proper cleaning procedures are also not taking place.

“It’s all around the driver’s area, the driver’s seat, floor boards. It’s heavy thickness of dirt, so that’s telling us that you’re not cleaning these buses,” said Headrick.

They also say the drivers have been deemed essential workers and should receive hazard pay.

One woman’s sign even described the drivers’ positions as sacrificial.

“They not receive anything that is hazard - the company is telling them that they’re essential workers. Why not pay your people?” said Patterson.

GLTC did not initially have buses running early Wednesday due to a staff shortage.

They responded to the situation with a statement saying in part that “daily vehicle sanitation is conducted with focus on high contact surfaces.”

WDBJ7 first reported positive cases of coronavirus in GLTC in July.

The union told WDBJ7 about 14 people are in quarantine.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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