Critical Workforce Challenges of COVID-19

For the past several years, the Transportation Diversity Council (TDC) has diligently pursued a mission to prepare youth for careers in the transportation industry, where a large exodus of retirees created vacancies for the next generation of talented workers to fill. As our nation grieves the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community health, our transit systems have experienced an additional layer of employment challenges. America's workforce has never witnessed such uncertainty.

As of Wednesday April 10, 2020, the New York Times reports the passing of at least 41 New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers and more than 6,000 cases of infection and self-quarantine as the outbreak spreads, devastating "the agency responsible for transporting New York City's essential workers."  The report further highlights the anxiety permeating the system as an MTA officer commented on the unsustainability of daily service, where "soon they're not going to have the manpower to run these trains at all."

As this pandemic unfolds across the country, TDC extends its deepest condolences to the families of those who have fallen victim to COVID-19 and hopes for their continued strength and perseverance during such a devastating time.

In the wake of this crisis, we have witnessed unparalleled professionalism, resiliency and hope. TDC, along with the rest of the country, is in awe and forever grateful to America's first-line workers, including fire-fighters and medical personnel for keeping this country moving forward.

TDC also commends New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo for his exceptional leadership and management of this crisis, and applauds the efforts of Pat Foye and MTA executives. As the Associated Press reports, roughly one in 10 working Americans having lost their jobs in just the past three weeks, TDC must also recognize the efforts of New Flyer of America and TWU-Local 100 to put employees first and streamline communications to mitigate fear and anxiety.

Amid these unprecedented times, TDC will continue its good work to move quickly to re-assess workforce needs and diligently work to resolve the specific impact on the transportation industry. TDC is committed to a renewed and vigorous engagement with public and private industry leadership, educators, community organizations and relevant unions to create a coordinated approach to accomplish a common goal-employing America's transit workforce. We will be ready to put America's transit workers back to work.


Dwayne Sampson

President and Founder of Transportation Diversity Council

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