MLK Labor Calls for Face Coverings on Public Transit

April 30, 2020

The MLK Labor Council, Transportation Choices Coalition, and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 sent the following joint letter to Seattle Mayor Durkan, King County Executive Constantine, and Sound Transit CEO Rogoff calling for the requirement of face coverings on all modes of public transportation.

Mayor Durkan, King County Executive Constantine, and Sound Transit CEO Rogoff,

We thank you for your leadership during this unprecedented public health crisis. We have all had to make difficult decisions but it is clear that King County acted swiftly and decisively to combat the coronavirus. Your actions and the guidelines you set for our community have saved lives.

However, this is far from over. People in King County are still getting COVID-19 and losing their lives. As we begin to reopen our economy, workers that interact with the public face especially high risk.

One clear way that we can support public health and protect the lives of frontline workers that operate, maintain, or ride transit is by requiring face coverings on all modes of public transportation. We ask that you do everything in your power to implement this important safety measure immediately and look at requiring face coverings in other public areas.

To make this policy successful, we ask that you provide the public with a clear, inclusive definition of what qualifies as a face covering, ensure that face coverings are made available so that everyone can comply, and ensure that penalties for not wearing face coverings are neither criminal nor financial. Workers and riders will benefit from clear protocols for non-violent enforcement of important face covering mandates.

This public health best practice has been adopted in other cities on the West Coast and nationwide. As we move forward under the new normal, it is essential that we do everything possible to protect our health.

Again, thank you for your leadership.


Nicole Grant, MLK Labor

Ken Price, ATU Local 587

Alex Hudson, Transportation Choices Coalition

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