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Metro Employee Union Reaches Out To Riders

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Metro employee union leaders listen to riders during a town hall meeting.
David Schultz
Metro employee union leaders listen to riders during a town hall meeting.

In the two years since the crash, Metro has faced a litany of problems -- everything from faulty track circuits, to federal reprimands to broken escalators.

Metro's employees union, the Amagalmated Transit Local 689, has come under fire during that time. But during a first-ever meeting between union representatives and the public Monday, local union president Jackie Jeter says reports of conflict between riders and workers are overblown.

"It's projected that there's this antagonistic or combative type of relationship and I don't believe that," she says. "I truly, truly don't believe that."

A train operator was one of the nine people killed in the crash. In the months that followed, a string of workplace accidents killed several more Metro front line employees.

Union official Jim Madaras says he's realized there's a natural alliance between riders and workers.

"We all are in the same boat. The employees want to go home to their families," he says. "The passengers want to get to and from where they want to go safely."

Turnout for the meeting was high, and many of those commenting, including D.C. resident Alexandra Beninda, said union members get a bad rap.

"I know that there's a lot of problems with the Metro system altogether that, often times, the Metro workers kind of get the brunt of," she says.

Since the Red Line crash, Metro has undergone a major management shake up. The agency has hiring new CEO and its Board of Directors has almost entirely turned over since the 2009 accident.

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