LOS ANGELES – The union representing employees who do security work for Metro want a judge to order the transit agency to stop hiring outside personnel for its Metro Ambassadors program until the issue is settled in bargaining.
California Teamsters Public, Professional and Medical Employees Union Local 911 brought the petition in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking that the court order Metro to “restore all work performed by ambassadors to the union’s bargaining unit.”
The petition also names as a respondent Strive Well-Being Inc., which states on its website that the organization has partnered with Metro for an “innovative new transit ambassador program as a strategy to improve the customer experience, increase ridership, and reinforce public safety.”
A Metro spokesman said the agency has no comment on the petition filed Thursday.
According to the Metro website, its ambassadors “are here to support riders on Metro buses, trains and stations, connect you to resources and report maintenance and safety concerns.”
The union was informed in March that Metro was soliciting proposals from private vendors to employ so-called the ambassadors, according to the petition.
“In other words, Metro planned to contract out bargaining unit work performed by union-represented employees,” the petition alleges.
The union sent Metro a letter demanding the agency cease and desist from further actions, to which Metro responded April 15 that there had not been any contracts signed with outside vendors, according to the petition.
However, the union maintains Metro has indeed signed vendor contracts for the hiring of ambassadors “to perform bargaining unit work, which traditionally has been performed by the union’s bargaining unit in violation of Metro’s obligations to bargain in good faith … and without providing notice or an opportunity to bargain to the union,” the petition states..
Metro has “unilaterally altered material terms and conditions of employment” by hiring ambassadors employed by Strive Well-Being Inc., the petition alleges.