Attacks on Metro workers, including a woman who threw urine of a bus driver in 2017, drew members of a union representing those workers to a rally on Tuesday, hoping to highlight numerous safety concerns.
The bus drivers and transit workers rallied at the North Bus Garage on 14th Street Northwest. The union and Metro have been negotiating a new contract for over a year. The union wants better safety measures, their pension, and more say in their working conditions.
"I was actually the victim of assault. I got spat on about a year ago," said Barry Wilson, an 18 year veteran of Metro. "I feel like we're under attack. Our lifestyle, wages, just the safety culture here. Everything has changed since I came."
Metro said they are taking actions to help keep employees safe. They are utilizing protective shields for bus operators, enhance police patrols, and conflict-resolution strategies for employees.
However, union representatives said the transit agency is not listening to the workers who deal with the problems.
"They push their policies and procedures on us, instead of coming to the people who is doing this work and asking us what will work," said Raymond Jackson, the second vice president of Local 689.
The workers said they are planning more rallies in the next several weeks.