100 signatures reached
To: Crystal Martin, Deputy General Manager; Michael Martin, City Attorney
Respect Concerted Activity: I'm Essential Masks
We are requesting that the posting stating "I AM ESSENTIAL NOT SACRIFICIAL MASKS" are unauthorized for work be removed and our right to wear these masks during work be respected, or we will contact our union representatives and consider filing a violation with the state.
Why is this important?
On or around Friday, June 19th, 2020, postings went up at Metro stating that masks with the words “I AM ESSENTIAL, NOT SACRIFICIAL” were political statements and not allowed to be worn while an employee was on paid time.
Metro Management initially restricted drivers from wearing any masks at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in March; Deputy Manager Crystal Martin suggested that masks were ineffective and did not need to be worn at a meeting with employees. City services were shut down or went remote, but Transit Operators were required to continue working with the public without sufficient protections or hazard pay.
When masks were finally allowed, Metro workers began circulating these masks with our Teamster union emblem and the phrase “I AM ESSENTIAL, NOT SACRIFICIAL” along with Teamsters at numerous other employers across the country, public and private.
This is protected concerted activity under Wisconsin 111.70(2) RIGHTS OF MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, “Municipal employees have the right of self-organization, and the right to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in lawful, concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” Teachers and other public servants have acted collectively, wearing buttons and other literature for their mutual aid and protection, upheld consistently by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission and the courts. Metro workers have had to push consistently for safe working conditions and respect, through lock down and now as the City reopens - WE ARE ESSENTIAL, NOT SACRIFICIAL.