MTA workers protest subway rats

Posted at 11:52 AM, Jun 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 06:32:24-04
Maryland Transit Administration workers donned rat masks and handed out flyers asking subway passengers how they'd like it if they had rats in their office during a protest Thursday morning. 
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300 said they were protesting the subway's ongoing rat problem.
The flyers also asked the public to call the MTA about the problem.  
In a statement, MTA spokeswoman Sandy Arnette defended the agency's extermination policy and called the union's tactics "a publicity stunt." 
The full statement reads: 
The MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient, reliable transit with world-class customer service. We at the MTA take every step necessary to ensure our employees’ work conditions meet the highest levels of safety and cleanliness and that our customers have a positive experience while on our transit system.

We have no recent records of any customer complaints about rodents in our Metro system. The MTA and Local 1300 signed a new collective bargaining agreement within the past month that was overwhelmingly ratified by union membership. During these negotiations, the issue of rats in the Metro Subway was not brought up.

It seems that today’s publicity stunt is nothing more than an attempt for union leadership to solidify votes leading up to their elections next week.

An on-call company routinely exterminates all Metro Subway stations, including the Mondawmin Metro Station. In fact, this contract was recently increased to ensure that we have an effective defense against vermin. MTA management regularly meets with union and non-union employees to discuss issues that concern them. This includes regular brown-bag lunches Administrator Paul Comfort holds to listen to and address employee concerns throughout the organization. In fact, we’re in constant contact with our union employees and have taken steps to address all of their complaints in a timely manner.

We also strictly enforce a no-eating and no-drinking policy in our system with both uniformed and plain-clothed MTA police officers. No matter how hard we work to keep areas clean and free of pests, we need our employees and transit riders to work with us. That means not eating in the system and placing trash in the proper receptacles.

We recently created a deep-cleaning initiative in our transit system. This includes a 9-person crew that deep cleans our Metro Subway stations. Each station is deep cleaned at least every two weeks.

Deep cleaning includes in-depth scrubbing of floors, cleaning station granite and entrance ways, cleaning windows, escalators, platforms, common areas and employee works areas and removing trash in the track area. We also have crews that do daily routine cleaning such as sweeping and mopping floors, removing trash, picking up litter and removing vermin that may be found as a result of our extermination efforts.

We are committed to a healthy, safe environment for our staff and customers.

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