Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to clarify that WRTA’s proposed one-time payment to workers has not been approved yet.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – WRTA bus drivers will wear red masks on Thursday in a show of solidarity for what the driver’s union says are inadequate protections against the coronavirus.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 272 announced the initiative Wednesday.
Union officials say that drivers are exposed and have been sickened by the virus. They are demanding more safety protocols and hazard pay.
WRTA proposed a one-time payment to workers, according to the union.
WRTA has initiated safety protocols including:
- Mandating face masks for all riders
- Riders must enter the bus through the back door
- All riders must social distance
- Only life-necessary trips are permitted
- Federal Station remains closed
Local 272 said it has made several attempts to negotiate addtional hazard pay from WRTA management.
“We are proud to transport people who depend on public transit for work, the grocery store, the doctor and more, but we are essential, not expendable. We should be paid for our bravery and providing critical service,” union officials wrote.