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Watching Jay Like a Hawk

Transit agency's eye follows union leader's moves

By Lee Nichols, Fri., Oct. 2, 2009

Jay Wyatt
Jay Wyatt
Photo by John Anderson

Restricting an ex-employee's access to the workplace premises might normally seem like standard procedure, but in the case of Jay Wyatt, there's a catch: He's still the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091, which represents most of Capital Metro's drivers and mechanics.

Via the union's attorney, Glenda L. Pitt­man, ATU 1091 has complained that StarTran – Cap Metro's main labor contractor – "has taken the opportunity of its 'termination' of Mr. Wyatt's status as a StarTran employee to severely restrict the customary, longstanding access of the Local to StarTran workplaces to attend to Union business and fully carry out its responsibilities to represent members of the bargaining unit."

Wyatt was fired Sept. 14 after murky "sexual harassment" charges (see "Point Austin," Sept. 18, for more).

The letter complains that the access restriction is especially spurious since Wyatt's official position with StarTran since 2002 has been union president, a position he still holds regardless of the termination. "Now, Mr. Wyatt is not permitted to enter any StarTran workplace without being granted entry by a StarTran manager on each occasion on which he must attend to Union business in StarTran facilities," Pittman wrote to StarTran outside attorney Lacey L. Gourley. "Recently, he was informed that he may go nowhere in StarTran workplaces, and may talk with no one within StarTran workplaces, without a management escort. ... This is preposterous. Dogging Mr. Wyatt's every move within the buildings constitutes unlawful surveillance ...."

Attempts to contact StarTran CEO Terry Garcia Crews before press time were unsuccessful.*

*[Editor's note: In the original version of this story, we reported that a “request for comment from Cap Metro and/or StarTran was not returned as of press time.” Due to editor error, the passage was not updated to reflect the fact that reporter Lee Nichols’ call was in fact returned, though he and StarTran General Manager Terry Garcia Crews were unable to speak until after deadline.]
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