Over 100 bus operators in Atlanta called in sick on Super Bowl Sunday amid an ongoing union dispute

iStock Editorial / Getty ImagesMarta bus stop
  • On Sunday, the Super Bowl will be in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Over 100 MARTA bus operators called in sick on Sunday as a part of a “sick out” related to an ongoing labour dispute.
  • On Saturday, MARTA and the union came to an agreement on a new three-year contract.
  • A spokesperson said it has “initiated an investigation” into the “sick out” and “will discipline employees found to have engaged in an illegal job action.”
  • The employees’ absence is not expected to cause train delays, according to MARTA.

Over 100 MARTA bus operators called out sick in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday – the same day the Super Bowl is to be held in the city, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.

According to the outlet, bus operators had called out sick throughout the week as a tense labour dispute between the transit union and MARTA waged.

Things seemed to come to a head this weekend when a total of 279 bus operators called out a part of the “sick out,” a MARTA spokesperson told INSIDER. On Friday 76 drivers called out, on Saturday 99 called out, and as of noon on Sunday 109 called out, the spokesperson said.

A MARTA spokesperson said the “sick out” had not caused delays during the day on Sunday.

“MARTA supervisors are operating buses to minimise delays on affected routes and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience they may experience,” a spokesperson told INSIDER. “There have been no impacts to MARTA rail service.”

Amid concerns about delays online, the official MARTA account reiterated that sentiment, simply tweeting, “Rail service is not impacted.”

This most recent “sick out” comes after MARTA and the driver union came to an agreement on a new three-year contract on Saturday, per Fox 5. According to the outlet, 88% of union members approved the deal, which has not yet been ratified by the MARTA board of directors.

“I am pleased with the results of the ATU contract ratification vote, which received overwhelming approval by union employees. This contract provides important parity pay adjustments for MARTA operators and our skilled technicians that will allow us to retain experienced employees and recruit new ones,” MARTA GM and CEO Jeff Parker said in a statement. “The wage increases are fair and we have continued measures to contain healthcare costs. We will be moving forward together to improve the customer experience and expand transit service.”

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Last month, MARTA sought a court injunction to end the sick outs, which were causing delays along bus routes.

“I am deeply disappointed in the actions of some ATU Local 732 members,” Parker said at the time. “MARTA put a deal on the table that I believe is the best arrangement this union has ever received. After months of negotiations and finally coming to a wage agreement, ATU has caused a significant disruption to MARTA’s bus service today.”

The spokesperson told INSIDER that the company is looking into this weekend’s events.

“MARTA has initiated an investigation into the recent bus operator sick outs and will discipline employees found to have engaged in an illegal job action,” the spokesperson told INSIDER.

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