Union leaders continued to push for COVID-19 “hazard pay” and more safety measures during Friday’s Cambria County Transit Authority meeting.
Mike Harms, of Pittsburgh, an international representative for the Amalgamated Transit Union, said local members are frustrated at CamTran management’s failure to respond to their concerns.
“They come to the table, and they say, ‘We can’t do this. We cant do that,’ We’re naming you guys Can’t Tran because every word we hear is ‘We can’t do that,’” Harms said. He was among several union leaders and others who spoke by phone during the public comment period of the transit board’s virtual meeting.
Following the authority’s policy board members and management did not respond during the public comment period. Members also demonstrated before the meeting outside CamTran’s 502 Maple Ave. headquarters.
Union safety specialist Brian Sherlock offered to help with bus alterations that would allow air filtration and bring more fresh air into buses to reduce the chances of airborne virus spread.
“We are prepared to assist in creating these solutions,” Sherlock said.
Union international Vice President Ray Greaves asked about a CamTran driver who was told not to wear a face mask with “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned on the cloth.
Local union President Jeff Hritz said his members are frustrated at CamTran management’s unwillingness to discuss the concerns.
“A lot are scared,” he said.
“There is a lot of stress. All they want to do is to get a sit-down meeting, face-to-face with management and discuss the situations that are going on.”
CamTran Executive Director Rose Lucey-Noll and Assistant Executive Director Josh Yoder declined requests for interviews after the meeting.
The transit authority provided a statement on a diversity and inclusion policy approved Friday, which represents the organization’s commitment to “equality and fairness for our diverse workforce and the multicultural communities we serve,” the statement said.
Before the statement was released, The Tribune-Democrat asked the directors about the union’s request for meetings, but there was no response to that question in the statement.
CamTran's statement did say: "Face masks are now a standard component of our driver uniform and that’s why we’re updating our dress code, effective (Saturday), that calls for transit-issued or plain colored/no logo masks. We believe this step will uphold our continued focus on consistency and safety and will eliminate any potential for misunderstanding."