L.A. Metro bus drivers demand hazard pay during COVID-19 pandemic

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At a protest outside L.A. Metro headquarters on July 10, 2020, bus drivers demand hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

At a protest outside L.A. Metro headquarters on July 10, 2020, bus drivers demand hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County bus drivers staged a protest outside Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters Friday, demanding hazard pay for transit employees who are working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bus drivers in crisp blue shirts and neon vests banged on drums and hoisted handmade signs into the air, including some that read, “Honk 4 MTA drivers” and “Got hazard pay?”

Drivers said they face a greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus as cases surge in L.A. County and bus lines grow more crowded. Metro cut bus service in April by about 29% after ridership and revenue plummeted, but riders are coming back, drivers said.

“We want Metro to recognize that we are L.A. — that we move L.A.,” said Sandra Pineda, a driver and an officer for one of the five local unions for bus drivers. The protest was not organized by the bus drivers union, a local affiliate of SMART, the International Assn. of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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