Update, 9:20 p.m. Sunday: Bus service in Detroit resumed early Monday after the transit union and city reached an agreement endinding a three-day walkout.
Drivers complained of unsafe conditions, saying the city hadn't done enough to protect them from Covid and from passengers who become confrontational when asked to wear masks.
The union representing the bus drivers issued a statement Saturday morning, expressing frustration with ending a day-old bus driver work stoppage.
“Our members have been heroes putting their lives on the line each and every day before and during this pandemic,” said Glenn Tolbert, President of ATU Local 26, which has about 500 members. “They are fed up with ongoing assaults, threats by angry riders refusing to wear masks, and other safety concerns while DDOT officials are doing nothing to provide any protection at all.
"Way before the pandemic even began, we had demanded the agency provide us with police protection, training, emergency communication, and other safety measures.”
“We initiated discussions with DDOT early this morning in hopes of finding real solutions,” Tolbert continued. “Instead DDOT offered inadequate half-measures, leaving bus drivers and riders exposed to violence on buses and COVID-19.”
A sudden labor dispute cuts off bus service in Detroit.
Drivers walked off the job Friday amid claims they're threatened regularly by passengers and are at risk of contracting Covid, a union leader says.
Operators "don't feel safe" and are "being accosted on a daily basis," Glenn Tolbert, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, tells The Detroit News.
"Just because you ask someone about a mask, you've got to fend for your life," he said. "It's getting to the point with COVID and all the other pressures ... all of these things are just piling up. I've got people quitting on a daily basis." ...
Tolbert added there's no current estimate on when drivers will return to the job.
The city issues a statement:
The Detroit Department of Transportation is currently undergoing a driver work stoppage due to a labor dispute. At this time, there is no bus service.
We apologize for the inconvenience and are working with union representatives to get buses back on the road as soon as possible. Updates will be provided as soon as they are available.
Local 26 represents about 500 city workers.