Uppercut RTA Driver's Firing Goes to Arbitration
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority bus driver shown in a viral video punching a passenger was fired last month over the dispute.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's bus driver union voted to bring in an arbitrator in connection with the firing of a bus driver involved in a physical altercation with a passenger last year.
Artis Hughes was fired Nov. 6 after an altercation witha female passenger that ended with an uppercut. A video of Hughes uppercutting a passenger in Beachwood went viral on the web.
The RTA said that Hughes' actions were not in accordance with the company's policies, and he has been charged with assault in connection with the altercation.
The passenger, Shidea Lane, has also been charged with disorderly conduct.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 President William Nix said that the members approved the measure to seek arbitration unanimously.
According to the union contract, this arbitration will be binding — so the third party's decision will stand.
"We would love for him to get his job back," said Nix. "He should be made whole."
He added that Hughes' firing sent a bad message and was followed by other assaults on bus drivers. "Anyone who wants to get away with something, you can just go out and attack a bus driver and you won't get caught and you won't get arrested."
In October, the RTA reported that there had been 71 assaults on drivers in the past 5 years. Since then, there have been at least two more that local media has reported on, sparking safety discussions between the union and Cleveland City officials.