METRA Covid-19 Practices Puts Passengers and Workers at Risk

Published: Jun 23 2020 11:32AM

June 23, 2020
Chicago, Illinois

The BMWED, representing Metra’s track, building and bridges construction and maintenance workers, charged today that Metra’s lack of testing and tracing for the Covid-19 virus is negligent. Metra has denied repeated requests by the Union to begin general testing and tracing of employees to contain the Covid-19 virus. This refusal puts the railroad employees and passengers who ride Metra at greater risk. All medical and public health authorities have stated that testing and tracing must be included in an effective COVID-19 containment strategy. Metra relies upon a system of self-reporting, which is ineffective and does not include the substantial number of those infected who have the virus with no symptoms but still infectious to other workers and passengers.  Other major urban transit agencies like SEPTA and New Jersey Transit already have general testing procedures in place.  

Transportation workers like Metra employees are deemed essential workers and have been showing up for work despite the extreme health risks involved. The rate of infection and death from the Covid-19 virus is significantly higher for transportation workers as a result. Amtrak recently received an additional $500 million to sustain itself and institute pandemic containment protocols because it provides this essential service.  

Jed Dodd, Vice President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes stated, “The failure of Metra management to institute a general testing program for the employees for the virus is outrageous and puts workers and passengers at needless risk. While we will continue to show up for America, it is time that Metra management show up for the workers and passengers and do their jobs to protect us.”

The Union will begin informational picketing at Metra Board Chairperson Norman Carlson’s house located at 1351 W. Whitmore Court, Lake Forest, Ill. at 3 p.m. June 23, 2020.  

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes is a division of the Teamsters Union that represent 30,000 men and women who construct and maintain the railroad track, buildings and bridges and overhead catenary systems of the America’s freight and passenger railroads.


Renee Perez, Vice Chairperson BMWED

Nick Manojlovic, Vice Chairperson BMWED

Jed Dodd, Vice President BMWED