Union claims not enough protection for workers amid COVID-19 pandemic
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Transport Workers Union of America filed a lawsuit Friday against Miami-Dade County Transportation & Public Works Director Alice Bravo, citing a lack of protection for transit workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the lawsuit, even with reduced ridership, “the county’s public transit system still has a monthly ridership of 1.3 million passengers” as of Tuesday.
The union claims transit operators are coming into close contact with tens of thousands of passengers a day, leading to an increased risk of them contracting COVID-19.
According to the lawsuit, not enough personal protective equipment and supplies have been given to workers.
“Defendant Alice Bravo has failed to provide sufficient personal protective equipment to transit employees — even though the County has adequate PPE and supplies,” the complaint reads. “She has further not provided transit employees the PPE products within the County’s inventory that provide the highest levels of protection.”
The lawsuit claims that Bravo has also failed to provide transit employees with sufficient cleaning products to disinfect their work spaces.
“In some cases, Defendant Alice Bravo has only issued the County’s bus drivers a single disinfectant wipe to last them an entire shift,” the complaint states.
According to the lawsuit, after viewing a photo that shows passengers sitting in close proximity to one another in a transit bus, Bravo reduced the number of seats available for passengers by marking the bus seats with an “X.”
However, the lawsuit claims she “failed to establish any procedures for the enforcement of where passengers may sit, or of any effective social distancing procedures on county buses.”
The lawsuit calls for various measures to be taken, including an “investigation into how the county distributes its inventory of PPE to employees, including by job description, race and ethnicity,” the installation of physical partitions between bus operators and passengers and the appointing of a “safety inspector general with scientific training to monitor compliance, and to publicly report on non-compliance on a daily basis.”