Despite the looming threat of a "sick out," Metro operations appear to be off to a normal start Friday morning, as there have not yet been any reports of under-staffing.
Earlier in the week, approximately 500 Metro workers requested to be off on Friday, as part of a "sick out." According to Metro, all of these requests were denied. As a precaution, Metro has asked supervisors to prepare to work 12 hour shifts in case workers don't show up.
"The goal here is to make sure we're providing service," said Metro's General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.
At L'Enfant Plaza Station, there was a steady flow of riders passing through, and the gates opened up on time. At 11:00 a.m., the rider's union will be holding a protest in front of the Western Bus Garage, in order to object to Metro's sick leave policy.
"Local 689, doctors, WMATA employees, riders and advocates will convene," according to a press release on the event.
The new sick policy focuses on two kinds of type off: excused absences and unexcused absences. Excused absences, for example when a worker needs to attend a doctor's appointment, will now need three days notice in order to be approved. Meanwhile, unexcused absences, such as when workers wake up sick, will still be approved, although punishments could be in order for repeat offenses.
After three unexcused absences, the worker will receive counseling. After six unexcused absences, they will receive a one-day-suspension. After nine unexcused absences, the worker will receive a three-day-suspension. After ten unexcused absences, the worker's job may be on the line.
"Clearly, you wake up in the morning, your child's sick, you call in sick, you can do that," said Wiedefeld. "But if there is a pattern of doing that we want to step up discipline after that."
Negotiations between the Union and Metro leadership has been bitter through this negotiating process, according to many workers. Beyond the sick leave policy, workers are also concerned with the future of their pensions, and potentially stagnant wages.