Bus driver fired for refusing to drive unsafe bus REHIRED!
PASADENA, CA: Margarito Ayala, the Pasadena Transit bus driver who received broad public support and news coverage following his firing on November 20 for refusing to drive a bus until he could see out of his driver’s side mirror, has been rehired by First Transit, the company that operates Pasadena Transit.
Teamsters Local 848 representatives, who successfully negotiated on Ayala’s behalf with First Transit, say Ayala will receive full back pay, and his employment record will be cleared of all reference to the mirror issue.
First Transit requires that Ayala summon company mechanics when outside mirrors need adjusting. When Ayala couldn’t properly see out his driver’s side mirror, he requested mechanical adjustment, and – in the interest of passenger safety – refused to drive the bus until the mirrors were properly aligned. After the third time he made the request, First Transit fired Ayala for “causing a slowdown in service.”
Ayala’s firing was especially ironic considering the First Transit’s ubiquitous slogan: “If you can’t do it safely DON’T DO IT!” When Ayala didn’t drive the bus because he couldn’t do it safely, he was fired.
“I’m excited to get back to work,” said Ayala. “The time I was off was very stressful for me, but thanks to my wife’s support and the help of my union, it’s going to be a good Christmas!”
Ayala’s story was reported in the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, CBS 2/KTLA 9, La Opinion, and even the US China Press. An online petition to Pasadena City officials gathered 419 signatures. Comments on social media were overwhelmingly supportive of Ayala. A CBS Los Angeles Facebook post has been viewed by 364,000 people, shared over 4,100 times, and received 800 uniformly positive comments.
“We’re very proud of Margarito. He did the right thing for the safety of his passengers, and now he can continue to serve the people of Pasadena,” said Gordon Ament, Business Representative of Teamsters Local 848, who fought for Ayala’s reinstatement
“Margarito did the right thing by not driving the bus until he was comfortable with the positioning of the mirrors,” said Eric Tate, Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848. “Driving is a business where being able to see is a must for the safety of everyone. I am glad First Transit realized their mistake and made things right.”
PRESS CONTACT: Barb Maynard