FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2022
CONTACT: Jonna Huseman, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Curtain Is Being Pulled Back: DOT Changes Will Shed Light on Violence Against Transit Workers
Today, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) is lauding a technical change made by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that will give the American public and the federal government a more comprehensive understanding of the violence frontline transit workers experience while on duty.
The change fixes massive gaps in our nation’s current transit workforce assault reporting structure, and is a move the TWU has pushed for and says is a long time coming.
“Every day, transit workers in the United States face unprovoked life-threatening violence on the job, but for far too long, too many incidents went unreported thanks to a narrow, woefully inaccurate definition of the word ‘assault,’” said John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union. “Under this new, corrected definition of the word assault, the federal government will finally get a clear picture of the dangers our members face.”
Under the previous definition of assault used by the DOT, a person could suffer a broken nose, first degree burns, and be hospitalized for a day without triggering any reporting requirements. This long overdue change will allow the DOT to capture more accurate data on workplace violence faced by bus, subway, and trolley operators, station agents, cleaners, and related workers.
Those dangers include everything from being verbally harassed and humiliated, to being hit, slapped, punched, stabbed, and even shot. In many cases, transit workers are forced to fend off attacks while operating a moving vehicle, and while trying to protect passengers from harm.
“Our members are proud to serve communities large and small across this country, but that service often comes with risks,” said Curtis Tate, “Changes at the federal level mean TWU members will finally be able to report more of these violent incidents and work collectively toward improving safety.”
Due to this important and necessary change, the TWU expects to see an exponential increase in the number of assaults against transit worker being reported, the union urges riders not to panic.
“An increase in reporting doesn’t mean our transit systems are becoming less safe. It just means the curtain is being pulled back to show the realities of being a transit worker in America today,” said Willie Brown, TWU’s Transit, Universities, Utilities, and Services Division Director. “Our hope is that the federal government, in partnership with the TWU, can use new data collected to help make our transit systems safer for everyone, workers and riders alike.”
The TWU represents more than 155,000 workers across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities and service sectors.