Milwaukee Bus Drivers Want to Carry Guns for Protection

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posted on June 5, 2019
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The president of a transit union is pushing to allow drivers to arm themselves for protection as part of a bargaining proposal to the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS).

Milwaukee Transport Services Inc., which operates under Milwaukee County, is responsible for the management and operation of the MCTS. With a fleet of 400 diesel buses, the MCTS provides an average of 100,000 rides every day. 

“Our security is a joke. It’s just for protection, that’s all,” Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 998 Union President James Macon said. “It won’t cost the company a dime. Our drivers already have their own weapons and concealed carry licenses.”

An incident in early May that saw a woman charged for allegedly attacking a MCTS bus driver sparked conversation on the topic.

ATU Local 998 has over 1,137 active members, including 661 retirees. It is part of the International Amalgamated Transit Union, founded in 1892, which is the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Today, the union has over 190,000 members in 264 local unions in 44 states and nine provinces.

“We’re one of the highest crime places in the United States,” Macon said. “It’s way overdue.”

One passenger told the local news media, “They should definitely have guns . … 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.”

Union negotiations will take place June 3 where the proposal will be discussed.

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