Why MARTA Can’t Have Nice Things

It appears that MARTA bus drivers and train operators may be planning a strike sick out, according to WABE.

A few operators say the  “massive sick out” is the only way to send the message they are frustrated  it’s taken over a year to negotiate a new contract and there’s still no deal.

Those who spoke with WABE wanted to remain anonymous.

And said it was due to fear of retaliation.

A MARTA bus operator told WABE, Amalgamated Transit Union local president Curtis Howard is not aggressively pursuing a deal that would include a raise.

But the fact is, no one has received a raised since 2005 according to a MARTA spokesperson.

Someone fact check me please as I’m going only on foggy (and early morning memory), but Cobb County Transit was set up to specifically avoid entanglements with MARTA’s union contracts.   And while not having a raise since 2005 is disconcerting, a lot of others that aren’t protected by government union contracts spent a good part of 2007-now without jobs at all, which is a little more disconcerting than the frustration of negotiating a raise over a period of a year.

MARTA is hoping to push into the suburbs with a rail line up GA-400 (among other plans).  There’s also the talk about consolidation of transit agencies always brewing in the background.  A non-strike strike is the perfect way to get suburbanites from cooling their hostilities toward the agency, and instead remind them that one of the things they like to say away from by moving to the burbs is union influence on the government services they support.

Harsh?  Sure.  But with MARTA, their problems are as much about perception as anything else.  New GM Kieth Parker has done amazing things to restore confidence in the agency’s operational performance.  It’s a shame to see some of the employees kill the good will and positive reputation the agency has been gaining by such a short sighted gesture.

H/T to Creative Loafing, and thanks to their News Editor Thomas Wheatley for letting me borrow his trademarked catch phrase for this headline.


  1. zedsmith says:

    Among the reasons MARTA cant have nice things, unionized labor, and negative perceptions of unionized labor both rank pretty low, don’t they?

  2. gt7348b says:

    Also, CCT drivers and Gwinnett County Transit drivers are represented by the same.Amalgamated Transit Union local 732.

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