RTA essential workers receive hurricane pay for disaster relief efforts

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced Friday that the agency will issue hurricane pay to its essential transit workers following Hurricane Ida.

The RTA reported on Friday it had reached an agreement with its affiliated labor unions on September 5 to pay its hurricane workers for a 12-hour shift for each day worked, plus an additional 10 hours per day in Hurricane Pay.

However, workers with the RTA rallied on Monday evening 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.

In regards to the rally, Jefferson said:

“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 said in its most recent statement that the additional “Hurricane Pay” was issued in workers’ September 17 paycheck.

The agency adds that it has also recently allowed employees to cash out vacation leave to help manage the unforeseen cost of hurricane damage.

In the RTA’s statement announcing the Hurricane Pay, the agency said:

“The RTA is unequivocally committed to supporting our essential transit workers,” says Arian Randolph, RTA Spokesperson.  “The agency is clear that our transit workers provide reliable transportation to doctor’s 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.”

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