Photo by PoPville flickr user slatifolia
“WMATA filed suit in U.S. District Court today to allow the Authority to implement an anti-fatigue policy designed to prevent bus and train operators, and other safety-critical employees from working seven-consecutive days.
Following a comprehensive fatigue management study in 2013, Metro created the first Fatigue Risk Management Policy in the transit industry for Metro employees in safety-critical positions, including train and bus operators. The policy provides that no employee perform work on more than six-consecutive days, and that any employee working six-consecutive days receive at least 24-hours off duty before returning to work.
“Metro must be in a position to enforce safety policies for its employees,” said General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “A strong safety culture means that we need to be able to protect employees and passengers based on Board approved policies that are informed by science and best practices.”
Metro’s current union agreement stipulates how overtime is awarded without regard to potential fatigue situations. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with ATU Local 689, work on a day off is paid at time-and-a-half on the first day off and double time for the second day off – which is the seventh-day of work.
While Metro’s new Chief Safety Officer is reviewing safety policies related to preventing fatigue, Metro management has been phasing out the assignment of seventh-day work. To honor the spirit of the CBA, the agency is paying certain employees not to work on their seventh day, eliminating any adverse financial impacts to workers under the current agreement. Under this scenario, the next eligible employee would get the work. Despite this, Local 689 filed a grievance and took the matter to arbitration in 2016. In a split decision, arbitrators decided that the CBA superseded the fatigue policy, which became, in effect, unenforceable.”