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Coronavirus Impact: Miami-Dade Transportation Union Files Emergency Lawsuit To ‘Protect Its Workers’

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Miami-Dade Transportation Union Files Emergency Lawsuit To 'Protect Its Workers'

Coronavirus Impact: Miami-Dade Transportation Union Files Emergency Lawsuit To ‘Protect Its Workers’

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade’s transit workers filed a lawsuit against the county Friday saying they need better protection on the front line.

The transit union is alleging they do not feel safe and neither should you when taking a bus or train right now.

As part of their lawsuit, they include a photo of a crowded bus.

“We really have got everyone in a tailspin,” said Jeffrey Mitchell, president of the Local 291 transit union.

He says his members, on the front line, feel unsafe.

“What we have been supplied with, when we have it, isn’t adequate at all. For instance, they are giving the operators at the beginning of the day one Clorox wipe and one pair of gloves and refilling, when they have it, the personal hand sanitizer,” he told CBS4.

Since the pandemic hit Miami-Dade has issued an assortment of rules in the wake of the coronavirus including:

-Limiting capacity on buses
-Requiring passengers to wear masks
-Requiring passengers to sit far apart.

Mitchell says many of the rules were proposed by them.

There is only one problem. “When you issue all these orders you got to have enforcement mechanism and that’s not being enforced at all. You can tell someone that they have to wear a mask to be on the bus, but if you got no one there to enforce it, you are just blowing hot air,” he said.

Driving public transit is a difficult place to be in lately.

Enforcing the rules matters as Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove brought up weeks ago.

He complained on social media about a woman coughing on his bus.

Days later, he died from the virus.

Miami-Dade has stepped up their cleaning of public transit.

Mitchell says it’s not enough. He says not one should feel safe getting on a bus right now.

“No, I challenge the director to get on the 77 and 11 with an operator all day, with the mask they are providing. I challenge her to do that. See if she feels safe,” he said.

Friday afternoon Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez addressed the concerns and the lawsuit.

“We can only issue what we have. It’s not that we are hoarding stuff and not giving it to them. But we also have to prioritize it. We have to prioritize where those supplies go to the people that are on the frontlines. The ones that are treating those patients, responding to those homes and the hospital workers. So it’s unfortunate but that’s how we have to do things,” Gimenez said.

The mayor is hoping that the supply chain improves. In the meantime, transit workers are left to do what they can with what they have.

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