by Whitney Tipton
Milwaukee transit union leaders are asking that bus drivers and mechanics be able to carry guns if they have concealed carry permits, citing security concerns and recent attacks by passengers.
Union representatives representing the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 made the request Thursday that drivers and mechanics be allowed to arm themselves if they hold a concealed weapon (CCW) permit, a change to the current rules, according to CBS affiliate WDJT.
“We’re one of the highest crime places in the United States,” said union president James Macon, “It’s way overdue.”
If approved in contract negotiations, a union proposal would allow some Milwaukee bus drivers to be armed.https://t.co/2qpjZAilCj
— NBC26 News (@NBC26) May 23, 2019
Drivers were attacked 15 times last year, according to a statement from the ATU obtained by CBS58. A driver suffered a laceration May 15 when passenger Betty Roberts, 24, stabbed him with a knife after being told she must pay the fare of $2.25, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The woman was charged with battery to a public transit operator and use of a dangerous weapon.
The union has been in negotiations with the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) for over one year, and have yet to agree on health benefits or wages. The concealed carry demand comes on top of requests that bus drivers be in areas closed off from the general public, and that the MCTS notify the union of major incidents.
“Mr. Macon’s public demand to arm MCTS bus drivers is an irresponsible proposal,” said Kristina Hoffman, MCTS’ Director of Marketing and Communications, in a statement to the Sentinel. “Our next negotiation date is June 3 and we will address all contract issues at that time.”
Passenger Aaron Copus agreed that drivers should be able to defend themselves. “They should definitely have guns,” he said to WDJT. “They’re trapped in that little thing with that gate. If I walked up and put a gun in his face, it’s not like he can go anywhere. He’s trapped.”
“MCTS is really not doing anything about security,” Macon said to WDJT. “Everything they say is money, money, money. Safety’s supposed to come first.”
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