Infrastructure Bill Includes Worker Assault Protections

NOVEMBER 6 -- The massive infrastructure bill just passed by Congress isn’t just good news for mass transit riders and motorists – but also for transit workers enduring assaults and abuse on the job.

Transit agencies across the country will receive hundreds of millions of dollars combined for efforts to better protect transit workers, and the workers themselves will have a say in how that money is spent. Agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority must establish a safety committee with an equal number of union and management representatives. The committee must adopt a plan with strategies to reduce the risk of assaults and submit the document to the Federal Transit Administration for approval – before getting infrastructure money from the feds. At least .75% of FTA funding an agency receives must be spent on worker-protection initiatives.

“This is a major victory for organized labor and for transit workers,” TWU International President John Samuelsen said. “We pushed hard on this issue and our efforts have borne fruit. There is a now a proper focus on mitigating the relentless scourge of worker assaults and abuse.  Agencies will get additional funds for this and will have to listen to the workers when developing their plans. It’s a huge step forward.”

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano praised the worker-safety provisions: “Transit workers come to work to do a job, not be punching bags for unhinged riders and criminals. We want to go home to our families at the end of our shifts safe and sound, not wind up in the emergency room.”