November 11, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The union representing workers in DC’s Metro subway system has sharply criticized massive budget cuts and layoffs the system’s general manager proposed Oct. 31.
General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, trying to close a budget gap of almost $300 million, said the system needed to run trains less often, raise fares by 5¢ to 25¢, and eliminate nearly 1,000 jobs. “This is a death spiral,” Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter told WJLA-TV. “We think it is harming the public.” Wiedefeld wrote in a memo to employees Nov. 4 that Metro had already eliminated 500 positions, including 101 layoffs, and that he wanted 200 more positions cut by next July. If the Metro board of directors approves his proposed reductions in train and bus service, that would end another 300 jobs. Jeter said Local 689, which has been working under a contract that expired in June, would not accept cuts in benefits and jobs. She described the contract talks as “stalled.” Read more