Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Abuse of WMATA Resources?

Two readers informed us yesterday about an interesting "PSA" that was being made at the Farragut West station. According to WMATA, announcements like these are "an inappropriate use of WMATA resources."

As we've read, the union representing Metro bus and rail operators and WMATA are about to head to court over a dispute over pay increases. That tension seems to be manifesting itself in odd ways.

According to one reader, "the [PSA] message started with a pleasing chime sound ... then an apparent Metro worker basically said support and sign a petition to support Metro workers so that they could get a raise ... She said to take some time to care about Metro workers as they care for us ... Catoe got his raise, and we didn't, and we haven't gone on strike yet ... please support ..."

Another reader's account was as follows:
Is there some potential strike in the works by Metro employees? I was on a Blue Line train at 8:23 this morning stopped at Farragut West going toward Metro Center. While we were stopped, there was a Metro employee on the station's public address system asking riders to sign some card in support of Metro employees in a dispute with management.

She said something about the employees not having shut Metro down. Implicit in her statement was a "yet." My impression was that the train spent longer than usual in the station with the doors open, so that all of us on the train could hear it.

Is that an appropriate use of Metro's PA system?

How do we feel about the threat?
According to the collective bargaining agreement between WMATA and the union:
Sec. 107 - No Strike-No Lockout
During the period covered by this contract, the service upon and operation of the lines of this Authority shall not be interrupted or interfered with by either party; provided, however, that this restriction shall not be applicable to the Union in the event of a refusal by the Authority to arbitrate any dispute which is arbitrable under this Agreement, or in the event of a refusal by the Authority to comply with provisions of any arbitration award issued by a Board of Arbitration to which the Authority and the Union have submitted a dispute.

Has anyone else heard anything like this?

Does one get written up for this?
Jeter to passengers: ________
Is a driver protest brewing?


Anonymous said...

I'm pro-labor, but I will punch in the nose any Metro worker that attempts to block me from getting on a train.

Your incompetent, rude and undeserving of a raise.

How about you work with us, the riders, and get Catoe ousted. Then we can talk about our service satisfaction issues. Then maybe a COLA for you.

Anonymous said...

Fuck the unions!

Anonymous said...

stay classy WMATA employees

Anonymous said...

I was at FW yesterday and heard it as well....i was so angry I could have gone up and yelled at the lady making the announcement(this was after I had waited for 20 minutes at vienna for a dang train). the nerve of these people!!!!!

D Bavousett said...

Totally inappropriate use of the PA system, IMO, and probably not even very effective in communicating the message the union wants to.

A strike on the part of WMATA workers would be really, really bad for this area. Lots would "find another way to work," in their various pollution-generators, further exacerbating traffic and parking problems all over the region. Plenty more would lose their jobs--they don't *have* cars, and don't have other ways of getting to work. This would be especially bad at the "low end". I'm lucky--it wouldn't affect me much; our company already has a telecommute policy in place in case of "transit emergency," so I'd just work from home, and no worries.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, it's outrageous. Metro workers again demonstrate their utter tone-deafness. On the bright side, however, it WAS the Metro PA system...thus, many people wouldn't be able to make out the message.

Anonymous said...

@Metro Workers. I would be more than happy to sign a petition or even supporting legislation that provides you and your colleagues a raise, provided you show a reason you deserve it. Take a look at just about every story posted and tweeted here! You and your colleagues in general are lazy and rude, and thereby undeserving of a raise. You must prove to US the customers that we have a reason to fight on your behalf. Thus far you have failed in that regard. I challenge any metro employee to post back to this thread.

Anonymous said...

This petition is NOT supported or approved by the leadership of ATU Local 689.

Brian said...

Absolutely ridiculous. Words fail me.

Anonymous said...

I heard the message yesterday, and it was the end of it that got me, when she told us how Metro employees were always there for us. There are some great Metro employees, but I'm not signing a petition for bus drivers who cruise past a stop when the bell has been pulled, text while driving, or yell at passengers who question why the last bus blew past the stop.

Anonymous said...

I was outside of the Brookland/CUA metro yesterday and metro employees were passing out cards saying something like "take some time for your metro drivers" - that must have been what it was all about. I was listening to my ipod so they didn't say anything to me.

Anonymous said...

I heard this at Farragut West yesterday at around 8:40. They're not getting my sympathy. A lot of private employers (like mine) didn't even give COLA increases in the past year because of the economy. Metro is millions of dollars in debt and they still expect one?

Dan Franzen said...

I think the point isn't that they're lazy, rude, etc. and therefore undeserving of a raise; it's that they're using the PA system to gin up support. That's like having a political candidate own a TV station and allowing him or her to broadcast how awesome they'd be as presisenator. It's unfair bargaining.

Anonymous said...

WTOP has it posted on their website:

Metro worker allegedly asked riders to sign petition
November 18, 2009 - 12:04pm

Basically it says what is already posted on this site.

Basically I say, how DARE you (metro employees) claim you take care of us because you endanger us, not care for us; how DARE you even THINK to use the PA system for your pithy pleas, and; how DARE you even DARE to use the word "yet" in any comment at all. You have no right. You have earned our scorn, not our support.

I got your "yet" right here honey.. it is called a car and no moolla for you, turkeys.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how WTOP learned of this? hmmmm

Anonymous said...

Dunno but WTOP usually has the fastest updates on local news (compared with other sites like Channel 9 news, NBC, etc.).

Perhaps a writer was on the train when the announcements were made? The very thought makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

It's a game of one-upmanship.

Step 1: WMATA fails to negotiate.

Step 2: The arbitrator comes up with a decision.

Step 3: WMATA rejects the arbitrator's decision

Step 4: Strike

Can it play out ANY OTHER WAY?

Anonymous said...

Rather than striking, maybe the metro workers could just stage a work slowdown.

No, wait a minute, that might not work - if they did a slowdown, its hard to say whether anybody would notice.

Anonymous said...

Now THAT is funny! (sad but funny!)

Unknown said...

PA systems are often used in small venues such as school auditoriums, churches, and small bars. PA systems with a larger number of speakers are widely used in institutional and commercial buildings, to read announcements or declare states of emergency. The simplest PA systems consist of a microphone, a modestly-powered mixer amplifier and one or more loudspeakers.There are four Types of PA System: Small Systems, Telephone paging system,PA over IP,Long line PA.

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