American transit workers have gained a new ally in President Biden, as executive orders mandating masks be worn by passengers and other protections have been issued.
Newly elected Transportation Trades Department President Greg Regan joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the treatment of transit workers since the beginning of the pandemic and what can be done to swing the Federal Mediation Board in favor of working people.
Transit workers face assault
Transit workers are vulnerable, typically the only employee on board their bus or train. This makes them easy targets. Regan said these workers have come under attack more frequently as they try to enforce mask mandates and other COVID-19 related rules.
Regan told the story of a worker, who was purposely coughed on by an unruly passenger. The worker subsequently died, elevating calls for increased protections.
He said the way to combat assaults and other forms of attack will take federal enforcement of mask mandates. Additionally, the Federal Transit Administration will need to step up. Other measures that can be taken include redesigning parts of buses and trains so passengers can not reach the operator.
National Mediation Board
As President Biden continues on through the early stages of his administration, Regan hopes to see him readjust the National Mediation Board, which is an independent government agency facilitating labor-management relations within the airline and railroad industries.
The board is overseen by three officials, which is currently made up of two Trump appointed Republicans and one Democrat.
While this issue may not be the attention grabbing headline issue, Regan said it is important to the transportation industry and that he expects President Biden to take care of it. The TTD has already submitted names of individuals they would like to see on the board.