Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This past Tuesday was Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to remember workers killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections. This year’s observance came in the midst of a devastating public health crisis as thousands of front-line workers, like our members, are putting themselves in harm’s way, have gotten sick, or have died from COVID-19, such as our union brother Andrew Wong who was remembered in a touching video below by our international union.
As you may know, the MBTA recently reported 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, out of 6,400 employees. President Jim Evers and Financial Secretary / Treasurer James Bradley also contracted the virus. Thankfully, they and 31 other T employees have recovered and are cleared to go back to work. If you think you have been exposed and would like to be tested, please contact your supervisor who will schedule a time for you to be tested for free, along with other front-line workers, at the state’s facility outside Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
This executive board continues to work with MBTA management to ensure policies are put in place to protect you. As this ever-developing virus has shown us, there is still more to be done, like securing hazard pay and more sick time leave. We are on the front lines and, as a result, are at greater risk of contracting the virus ─ especially since we are transporting healthcare workers who are in direct contact with patients who have the virus. Speaking of which, we were glad that Gov. Baker signed an executive order on Friday that requires Massachusetts residents wear masks in public, including public transportation, as we had been advocating for this change.
We would like to give a shoutout to our union brothers and sisters of IAM Local 264 who work at the Everett Shops. There was an article this past week in the Everett Independent about how they are working to provide our members with hand sanitizer. Their actions bring to mind the following quote by Mr. Rogers:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
These are scary times for us all. But, we, too, should take comfort in knowing that there are lot of people out there helping. Nurses and other healthcare workers are helping. First responders are helping. Grocery store workers are helping. We are helping.
In closing, thank you for all you are doing each and every day to transport, among others, nurses and doctors who are caring for those who are fighting this dreaded virus. This is all about essential workers providing transportation to other essential workers or as Green Line Delegate Scotty Page put it, “heroes moving heroes.” Take care of yourselves and please contact your delegate or a member of the e-board if you need anything. We will get through this together.
Your Executive Board
Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589