GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Outraged Grand Valley Transit workers protested on the corners of North Avenue and 12th Street Sunday, calling for better pay and more COVID-19 protections.
“Every day I worry when I go to work,” says Allen Simons, a Grand Valley Transit Driver, out of COVID-19 fear in the workplace.
Other employees, like Allen, and supporting members of the community gathered to let the public and elected officials know they expect more out of the company’s 5.4 million dollars in cares act funding.
“Intended use of it is to keep operations running during the pandemic and to keep both passengers and employees safe from COVID-19.” – Judi DeRusha, ATU
Grand Valley Transit employees say the company has provided some personal protective equipment with the funding, such as masks and gloves, and shower curtains between the drivers and passengers. But employees think the money could be better spent.
“I believe we need more permanent barriers.” – Judi DeRusha, ATU
“We have asked for hazard pay…as far as we know, nothing has been done in the regard.” – Allen Simons, Grand Valley Transit
Workers are also worried the money may be used on non-pandemic related expenses. Judi DeRusha with ATU says, “I don’t have a problem with them spending money on other things but I think it’s irresponsible they arent taking care of their workforce.” Judi says she has heard talk about the funds being used for paying off debts and painitng facilities.
Sunday’s protest wasn’t only about COVID funding use, it was also about general worker wage, pandemic or not.
“Our contract is up at the end of the year, so we will be negotiating better pay, protections and benefits.” – Judi DeRusha, ATU.
KREX 5 reached out to Grand Valley Transit for comment but did not hear anything back.