Metro to Eliminate 500 Jobs Amid Safety Surge | NBC4 Washington

Metro to Eliminate 500 Jobs Amid Safety Surge

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Metro's general manager sent a memo to employees saying the transit agency will eliminate 500 jobs in order to save money. Derrick Ward reports. (Published Monday, June 27, 2016)

    What to Know

    • Metro will identify positions that are "redundant" and "not deemed essential to Metro's core business."

    • Labor agreements and other human resources requirements have to be worked out, so the entire process could take months.

    • General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced to staff in a letter Monday that the positions must be cut to save money.

    Metro will eliminate 500 jobs as major repairs continue and leaders grapple with a drop in ridership.

    General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced to staff in a letter Monday that the positions must be cut to save money.

    "Effective today, the Office of Management and Budget will provide department heads with a list of non-safety critical, non-essential vacant positions that are being eliminated," he wrote in a letter to the staff.

    Metro will identify positions that are "redundant" and "not deemed essential to Metro's core business," the letter says.

    Labor agreements and other human resources requirements have to be worked out, Wiedefeld said, so the entire process could take months. But he wanted notifications to go out as soon as possible so those affected could prepare.

    "I think most of them are vacant positions, but there are some individuals involved," Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said.

    Evans, who is also a D.C. Council member, said it is always sad when jobs are cut but the cuts are necessary.

    “It's important that Metro downsize,” he said. “We have 13,000 employees, and I think Paul's action sends a message that we are very serious about getting our house in order."

    The announcement comes as the system is in the midst of its most ambitious and, for some, disruptive changes: The SafeTrack surges. It has closed stations on the Silver and Blue lines while repairs, upgrades and safety enhancements are performed, leaving thousands of commuters, to take shuttle buses around the closures or make other plans altogether.

    The cuts are expected over the next several months.

    Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 released the following statement:

    "Today we learned of a leaked memorandum from General Manager Paul Wiedefeld calling for elimination of 500 WMATA positions for the 2018 fiscal year budget.

    "As Metro’s largest union, representing rail and bus operators, station managers, maintenance and clerical workers of this system, we understand the necessity of our positions, especially at this critical time for WMATA. We also understand the financial challenges of the system, which is why we have and continue to support dedicated funding that will keep Metro funded without the interference of political battles.

    "Our union shares General Manager Paul Weidefeld’s priorities of safety, reliability and financial responsibility. We also believe that financial responsibility can be achieved without excessive harm to Metro’s workforce and the millions of riders we transport annually. Local 689 stands prepared to work with Metro to achieve financial responsibility and accountability, and we look forward to working with WMATA leadership to meet that end with respect to the necessity of the work our members perform."