CATS fires several bus drivers, workers say it’s because they demanded more PPE

Local News

Several bus drivers are without a job and they say it’s because they’ve publicly complained about safety amid the pandemic.

Dirty busses are just a few issues workers reported. Drivers talked to WVLA/WGMB a few weeks ago about what they called a lack of PPE and cleanliness on the busses.

“The busses are filthy in the mornings and totally not sanitized and disgusting,” Shavez Smith said. “We’re finding leftover chips, bags, book-sacks, cold drinks, water bottles, anything that’s left in the busses because they’re not being sanitized.”

Now they say they’ve been fired, have no income, and they were given what they feel is a bogus reason for their termination.

“It was a tactic and retaliation method,” George Decuir said.

Yvette Rhines is the President of the Baton Rouge Chapter Transit Union. She says back in March a physical altercation happened between two employees off of work grounds. She brought this to CATS Chief Operations Officers, Dwana Williams, and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Deville, but nothing was done.

Now, four months later, after making comments demanding better safety measures Rhines and six other drivers were fired.

A spokesperson for CATS says no comment will be made on this issue.

“We’re asking for transparency numerous times and we’re not receiving the information that we’re asking for,” Rhines said.

Shavez Smith says things have been rocky for him ever since he was reprimanded for asking a rider to comply with the city’s mask mandate.

“They sent me home with no pay,” Smith said.

Now he’s without a job and says he has no way to support his family.

“I’ve dedicated hard work and commitment to this company, this is a big slap in the face,” Smith said.

These drivers say all they want is their jobs back but before that happens they need better leadership.

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