King County Metro workers demand more protections to prevent spread of COVID-19

SEATTLE — King County Metro workers are demanding more protections to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“They're a matter of life and death for us in this time. And for our ridership,” said Metro Streetcar supervisor Linda Averill.

During a virtual press conference on Zoom, King County Metro workers shared why they are calling on Metro to do more to protect them from the coronavirus.

“It concerns me because we're all going back home to our families,” said Metro’s facilities custodian Juan Hood.

The workers echoed the concerns some employees shared with KIRO 7's Amy Clancy last week.

“It will kill you. I feel like they’re playing COVID roulette here,” said Metro Line Supervisorsupervisor Rod Burke.

They also sent an open letter to Metro's general manager, King County Executive Dow Constantine and the County Council with three demands. These are protections for transit, streetcar and link rail operators.

1. Workers are asking for full transparency and disclosure of coronavirus cases in the workplace.

2. On a daily basis, clean, sanitize and change the filters of every bus that goes into service. Provide full personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe practices training for all workers involved in cleaning buses.

3. Institute hazard pay in the form of 40 hours pay for 30 hours work for all transit workers who are serving in harm's way.

“This has fueled a climate of fear among workforce, of distrust, demoralization and also anger,” said Averill.

“It's getting pretty scary, more scary than it was,” added Metro Light Rail operator Robert Bonina.

KIRO 7 reached out to King County Metro to get their response but did not hear back.

The workers also have a petition online.