MARTA workers get $500 bonuses during pandemic

MARTA has stepped up cleaning of stations, buses and trains amid the coronavirus 0utbreak. Now it’s giving thousands of employees a $500 “hero” bonus for working during the pandemic. (MARTA PHOTO)

MARTA will give thousands of its workers a $500 "hero" bonus for working during the coronavirus outbreak.

The one-time money will go to 3,566 employees, including front-line workers – bus and train operators, police officers and others who deal with the public – and others who are unable to work from home during the pandemic.

The move will cost the transit agency nearly $1.8 million at a time when it faces a major budget crunch because of the pandemic. But MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker said Friday the bonus – along with increased sick time, masks and other benefits and protections for workers – will help keep employees and passengers safe.

"These employee measures, along with bus crowding mitigation efforts, and forthcoming bus service changes, will help ensure our system remains safe for those who rely on transit to get to work, the doctor or the grocery store," Parker said in announcing the bonuses.

MARTA negotiated the bonuses with the Amalgamated Transit Union, which has said the agency isn't doing enough to protect employees. Transit workers aren't the only ones who don't feel safe on the job. Employees in the grocery, sanitation and other industries also are worried.

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