Teamster paratransit drivers at MV provide critical transportation services to our community.
So many Teamsters have risen to the occasion to serve our community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Our members in grocery, corrections, cold storage, law enforcement, solid waste, bakery, dairy, and many other industries are keeping the supply chain moving and making sure vital emergency services stay online.
From early on, Local 117 paratransit drivers who work for MV Transportation have been on the front lines in the fight against the virus through their work shuttling elderly and disabled passengers around our region.
Starting Thursday, 26 drivers began taking on an additional risk. They have volunteered to transport COVID-19-positive patients and those suspected of carrying the disease to and from area medical facilities.
Drivers are not required to interact with the COVID patients. That work is performed by caregivers and medical providers. Still, the danger of infection is real.
“We’re just trying to help people out,” said Helen Vivao, one of the drivers who volunteered for the work. "It's scary at first but after seeing these clients, it's a tear jerker. You don't know if it will be the last time you see them. But we're feeling like it's important that we're doing our part."
Helen and her co-workers are supplementing the first responder network and EMTs who are overrun with emergency transport during this national crisis.
"We’re just trying to help people out."
Up to thirty vehicles will be used for the program. The buses will be retrofitted with safety installations and must pass inspection by public health officials at King County. They will operate exclusively and separately out of MV’s old base in Kent, be sanitized after every run, and they will not be used to transport other MV passengers.
“The work of all of our members at MV is vital to serving our community and protecting the public health. The drivers volunteering for this role are going above and beyond,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We will be closely monitoring safety conditions on these vehicles. It is incumbent on the County and the company to prioritize driver safety and to take every precaution to limit the spread of the disease.”