Wednesday, March 28, 2012

GM Sarles, Jackie Jeter React to Washington Times Articles

Jeter's letter below

This is a letter Sarles is apparently sending to the Times:

Dear Editor:
In recent articles, Luke Rosiak declined to use facts provided by Metro, instead employing outdated information, misquoting officials, and drawing inaccurate conclusions about WMATA that are particularly odious at a time when Metro’s men and women are working hard to rebuild this system.

Last year, Metro’s progress included a reduction in employee and customer injuries, improvements in train and bus reliability, and a decrease in crime on the system. Thanks to the hard work of our employees, we advanced NTSB safety recommendations and completed all 10 FTA safety improvements. Metro achieved a 90 percent escalator availability. And we are continuing to rebuild our infrastructure after years of deferred maintenance – installing more than 21 miles of new rail, rehabilitating or replacing 43 escalators and completing many station renovations. We are also building our human capital, filling vacancies and generating new jobs in the region, the majority of which are focused on safety, rebuilding the system, better maintenance levels, and expanding bus and rail services.

We are proud of a workforce that is increasingly diverse. The facts are that the number of Hispanics and women has grown significantly. We currently have 646 rail operators, of which 30 percent are women and this year we recognized the first female champion of our rail operations and safety competition. In bus service, out of 2,780 operators, nearly 27 percent are women. We also note that 22 percent of the staff in today’s Civil Rights office are Hispanic, contrary to your information.


Richard Sarles
General Manager and
Chief Executive Officer
The letter was prefaced with a note to employees:
Dear Coworker:

As information for you, there follows a copy of a Letter to the Editor I am sending today to the Washington Times in response to an appalling series of articles published this week about Metro.

While the Times may elect not to print the letter, I felt that it was important to set the record straight and to share our response with all of you.

I hope you will continue to remain focused on your important work and to make your safety, and the safety of our customers, your top priority.


Richard Sarles
General Manager and
Chief Executive Officer
From Jackie Jeter:
Letter to the Editor of the Washington Times
By Jackie Jeter, President, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689 strongly condemns the racist diatribe, “Inept get promoted, … capable get buried” (Mar. 27, 2012). We unequivocally reject the outrageous aspersion that Metro’s majority black workforce is incompetent. We also reject, and vehemently deny, the sentiment that this union has participated in or condoned discriminant behavior towards any individual or group of individuals. We celebrate diversity in all forms.

Each day, an estimated 700,000 commuters and visitors ride Metro rail and Metro bus. Metro is the second largest public transit system in America. A system of this large capacity requires unrelenting dedication and specialized skills to function. The system simply would not operate without Metro workers performing their jobs with the utmost competence and focus on service, reliability and safety. I am proud of the work they do.

Since the mid-19th century, unions have played a crucial role in advancing the rights and protections of American workers. Local 689 is a proud member of the nation’s labor movement. Our union has fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and workers rights. We stand by our workers unapologetically in solidarity with their commitment to deliver high quality services to the riding public.

Metro workers are deeply rooted in the Washington metro region. Most of the rank-and-file workers live in Metro’s service area—the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and northern Virginia. Contrary to your story, we reflect the region’s diverse demographics.

The Washington Times clearly crossed the line of ethical journalism with its propaganda piece. We urge the newspaper to practice the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, impartiality, fairness and objectivity at all times.

We demand an apology for the racist shade cast on our members.

Jackie Jeter, President
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689
Representing more than 11,000 Metro workers
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