RTA resumes streetcar service, workers rally for hurricane pay

Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority announced on Monday the return of streetcar service along the 12-St. Charles route. The route will run on a daily Saturday schedule.  

The Amalgamated Transit Union announced that RTA bus operators will hold a rally on Monday at 6 p.m. at 4230 Marigny Street in regards to hurricane pay and the reinstatement of ATU Local 1560 President Valerie Jefferson, who was fired at a press conference earlier in the day.

“This attack is on the Union, not me,” said Jefferson. “This agreement with hurricane pay was a fair deal, but they don’t want to pay them now. They were down drivers. Half left the city. Others were dealing with damage to their homes. The operators who came sacrificed to do so.”

The RTA issued a statement on “hurricane pay” for essential transit workers.

The statement read:

The RTA is unequivocally committed to supporting our essential transit workers. The agency is clear that our transit workers provide reliable transportation to doctors appointments, work, and to other critical destinations all year round. This is especially true in times of crisis and extreme weather, as we rely on our essential transit workers for evacuation of our most vulnerable New Orleans neighbors. 

To that end, the RTA and its affiliated labor unions reached an agreement on September 5th to pay essential transit workers who worked throughout the storm response for a 12 hour shift for each day worked, plus an additional 10 hours per day in Hurricane Pay. This agreement was signed by the union’s representative to RTA leadership. The additional “Hurricane Pay” will be included in the regularly scheduled pay date, September 17th.  Additionally, to help all RTA employees manage the unforeseen costs of hurricane damage, the RTA has provided an opportunity for employees to cash out vacation leave balances to help families recover as comfortably as possible.

While many in our local economy are still struggling to re-enter the workforce, the RTA has been in the favorable financial position to maintain full employment for its operators throughout the pandemic. Additionally, the RTA was one of the few transit agencies in the nation to provide hazard pay to operators who graciously and professionally put themselves in harm’s way to serve our city’s essential workers.

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority

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