Largest DC Metro union calls for termination of Metro GM for handling of 'Unite the Right 2' rally

Largest DC Metro union calls for termination of Metro GM for handling of 'Unite the Right 2' rally
© Greg Nash

Washington, D.C.'s largest Metro union on Thursday called for the termination of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, who they say approved "special treatment" for white nationalist demonstrators at Sunday's "Unite the Right 2" rally. 

Dozens of ATU Local 689 members protested on Thursday outside of Metro Center to demand Wiedefeld's termination.

ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter claimed that Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) used "special trains" to accommodate Sunday's roughly two dozen "Unite the Right 2" attendees, despite Metro's claims otherwise. 

"Today the public was lied to by WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld the same way he has been lying to this union for the last two years," Jeter said in a statement to Fox 5 on Sunday after the rally. "The special accommodation for a hate rally in Washington D.C. was dishonest, unprecedented, and not a reflection of the principles of ATU Local 689 or 'D.C. Values.'"

Union members demonstrating on Thursday handed out flyers urging locals to call their "government representative and tell them to #FireWiedefeld." 

"I am asking you to take immediate action by ordering the WMATA General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld's termination for breaking the public trust and giving special accommodations to white supremacists on Sunday," the handout suggests as a script for speaking to local lawmakers. "The longer Mr. Wiedefeld stays on the job, the longer you will be complicit in validating the hateful message of white supremacy, which is why I am calling on you to take action now."


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Metro's press office declined to comment on the protest.  

Though Metro has repeatedly stated it did not provide a private car for white nationalist demonstrators, multiple reports have confirmed that protesters rode in a car alone with law enforcement officials and members of the media.

The D.C. police confirmed they reserved a separate car for the "Unite the Right 2" attendees, but insisted public citizens could have boarded the car at any station. 

Videos have emerged showing local law enforcement ushering the protesters onto a stalled Metro car.  

Metro last week announced that they had rescinded a proposal to provide separate Metro cars for white nationalists after fielding blowback from multiple groups, including ATU Local 689, which maintained that a private car would be interpreted as tacit support for the group's ideologies. 

"To be absolutely clear, Metro is not preparing a 'special train' for the private use of any group," Metro said in a news release before the rally. "As with any ridership-generating event (e.g. large sporting events, concerts, Fourth of July celebrations, and many First Amendment demonstrations), Metro will be prepared to add trains as needed to address crowding if necessary. Should platform crowding become a concern at any particular station, Metro Transit Police may temporarily restrict access for safety reasons, as they do routinely during large events."