WMATA employees threaten 'sick out' this weekend

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WASHINGTON — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority faces a service slowdown or stoppage on Friday after Amalgamated Transit Union members flooded the agency with medical leave requests to protest a new absenteeism policy.

Local media reported that WMATA received “pre-approved” sick leave requests from some 500 members of ATU Local 689, the agency's largest union. The policy allows employees to request time off 72 hours in advance for doctors' appointments or other medical treatments. Workers still can to call in sick on the day of their shifts in cases of sudden illness.

WMATA management denied all the requests, and put managers on notice to prepare for 12-hour shifts to keep trains and buses running.

Union officials denied that the sick leave requests were coordinated, but they take place as the agency and union are engaged in tense contract negotiations.

WMATA put the new rules in place in February to crack down on absenteeism and overtime abuse. At the time the agency began investigations of more than 100 employees believed to be abusing an extended medical leave policy.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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