CATS workers protest broken buses, broken promises
BATON ROUGE - Capital Area Transit System workers gathered to protest at the CATS terminal on Florida Boulevard and raise concerns over bus maintenance and safety.
"We have a lot of buses that aren't safe on the road," Driver's Union President Naomi Guy told News 2's Rebecca Buchanan on 2une In Thursday. "We don't have parts in the part room for our mechanics to do their job and they're very frustrated."
They also requested more experienced management who follow procedures and keep promises.
"We tired of the violations of the union contract," she also claims. "It was bargained faithfully... now it's violation after violation. We go in, we have the meetings, they tell us they're going to do one thing, we walked out the door and then they change."
CATS CEO Bob Mirabito confirmed Thursday they did have some parked buses which they felt weren't safe for riders. He says for the past year they've focused on getting new routes running and spent $5 million on new buses to make improvements. Now that those routes and buses are running, Mirabito says the management team is turning their focus on issues such as cutting down bus breakdowns.
"All riders are traveling on safe buses," Mirabito said. "This morning, we have brought in operations management personnel who are experienced bus operators themselves, and have them driving routes in order to ensure that service is uninterrupted."
As for union contracts, Mirabito said they were in compliance and planned to stay that way.
"We are evaluating all our internal operational processes and procedures and realize that change can be difficult for people," he said. ""We have a team of management professionals in place with many years of experience... On that team, transit experience is balanced by business experience to create a strong leadership team to provide the highest value for the dollar and to take CATS to the next level."
The workers aren't completely walking off. Buses will roll as usual while drivers take turns informing riders about their concerns.
"The most important thing I tell them everyday is that I don't like to see the waste of the taxpayer dollars," Guy went on to say. "It's a waste for buses to be sitting back there and not on the streets for taxpayers. They voted for this tax. We need to make sure those buses are rolling and safely, and these operators and mechanics are being treated fairly."
Watch more of our interview with Union President Naomi Guy for more information.
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