LEXINGTON, Ky. (ABC 36) – Lextran employees say that the company does not take their safety seriously.
“If we feel our company is disrespecting us, than others on the street are disrespecting us and it shows every day” said Hue Mason, a bus driver with Lextran.
A dozen Lextran employees shared their concerns about the company Monday during a local 639 transit union meeting.
“They’re quick to go on and say this is a family, this and that, but no we’re the red headed step children. It’s not a family atmosphere here, unless it’s amongst the drivers “added Mason.
Mason says Lextran does not provide proper PPE for drivers.
“They give us masks, twice within a year, and we get access to gloves but as far as you know we still got to drive with packed buses, we do the customer service, we walk up and down the walkway all day long, and we just don’t feel we have what we need to be protected.”
Mason says he was hesitant to speak on camera, afraid of retaliation from the company for voicing his concerns.
Many in attendance at the meeting did not want to speak on camera for that very reason.
They say many employees have been penalized or fired for speaking out about complaints or safety concerns.
“But I’m a grown man, I have to take responsibilities of what I do as well as I feel like other companies have to take responsibility of things that are happening.”
President of local 639 Steven Richardson says Lextran’s COVID-19 sick leave policy and lack of hazard pay are also issues.
“Now that 2021 is around…if people don’t have enough sick time or DL time to actually cover if they do get sick, then they could actually have to go without pay and face a penalty from Lextran” said Richardson.
He says he’s invited board members to attend the union meetings and hear the concerns from employees for years now, but they never show.
“Something is wrong but nobody cares” said Richardson.
But, Lextran says they have followed CDC and Governor Beshear’s guidelines when it comes to COVID-19, putting their employee’s safety as a high priority.
Below is their full statement to ABC 36 and timeline of actions they took to keep the employees safe.
“Throughout the pandemic, Lextran has maintained employee safety as a top priority, and has followed CDC guidelines regarding mask usage. Lextran first distributed masks and hand sanitizer to each employee reporting to work in the first week of April and strongly urged their use among staff and the general public. In May, masks were deemed mandatory for employees, and mandatory for all persons on board Lextran vehicles in July following an executive order by Governor Beshear.
Lextran has taken additional steps with employee safety in mind, including suspending fare collection from March through January, implementing a rear-door boarding policy, increased sanitization, limited capacity on vehicles, installing operator barriers, and conducting health screenings for all employees reporting for duty. We continue to supply PPE to the team and are actively advocating for their vaccine prioritization.
Lextran adhered to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regarding employees’ paid leave associated with COVID-19. Under the FFCRA, employees were provided an additional 80 hours of paid leave to use in case of quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19, caring for a family member who contracted COVID-19, or contracting COVID-19 themselves. The FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020 and while Lextran has been flexible and sensitive to employees dealing with the impact of the pandemic, our paid leave policy remains in effect as it is written in our collective bargaining agreement and administrative employee handbook.
As knowledge of the virus and guidance from the CDC have evolved during the last year, Lextran has regularly updated and adjusted guidance to employees in an effort to protect them from COVID-19”
Statement provided by Lextran’s Emily Elliot, Community Relations Manager.