As Lorton bus drivers prepare to enter Day 9 of their strike against Transdev, the ATU Local 689 Metrobus workers at WMATA's Cinder Bed Road garage “are a little wetter thanks to today’s rain, but their morale remains high,” reports ATU’s Todd Brogan. “’We’re not going anywhere’ is the mood,” Brogan added. Bargaining with Transdev resumed today, four members of the VA General Assembly submitted a letter to Paul Wiedefeld and Senator Bernie Sanders issued a message of support. Pickets continue over the weekend (see Calendar); for latest solidarity updates follow ATU Local 689 on Facebook.
Here’s how you can help:
· SAVE THE DATE: Metrobus Strike Rally at WMATA Headquarters, 12:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 6, 600 5th Street NW, Washington, DC.
· Forward this email to your networks so they know how to plug in.
· Local 689 is looking for volunteers to help run a food pantry as workers enter the critical second week of strike. Email [email protected] or [email protected]
· Pick up leaflets from an ATU organizer and hit your transit stop in the morning or after work. Email [email protected] or [email protected] to request some.
· Become a part of Local 689’s “solidarity action team” by emailing [email protected] The Solidarity Action Team will be equipped to conduct small direct actions to raise awareness of the systemwide impacts of this struggle.
· Donate to the Cinder Bed strike fund.
· Download and print this sign, then take a photo, post to social media and tag @wmata on Twitter and @metroforward on Facebook with words of support for the strikers. Remember to tag @atulocal689 on Twitter or @atulocal689group on Facebook.
Members from AFSCME Council 3 headed to Annapolis last Monday to demand a solution to the growing crisis around staffing in state agencies. There are currently around 2,000 vacant positions in AFSCME's bargaining units, forcing some employees at critical locations like hospitals and correctional facilities to work multiple 16-hour shifts a week to fill in the staffing gaps. This is a problem for both state employees -- whose safety at work is endangered -- and for Maryland citizens. These staffing levels not only directly affect the existence and quality of the services state employees are tasked with providing, AFSCME also estimates they are costing tax payers $100 million in overtime annually. Read more about the staffing crisis here.
photo: Jason Suggs, president of the AFSCME local representing employees of the Maryland Department of Labor, describes problems caused by understaffing at the department during a press conference Tuesday in Annapolis. photo by Rachel Baye for WYPR.
In response to more than 140,000 comments received from the public and stakeholders, the National Park Service (NPS) on Monday announced it was “withdrawing its August 2018 proposal to revise the First Amendment and Special Use Permit regulations for the National Mall, President’s Park and other national parks in the Washington, D.C. area.” When the “pay to protest” rules were first proposed, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice, alerted DC area organizations involved in organizing protests and a coalition – including unions -- came together to oppose the Trump administration’s anti-protest proposals. “This is an extraordinary victory for the people of the United States,” Verheyden-Hilliard told The Washington Post. “And it says, without question, to this administration that the people of the U.S. will not be silent. They will not accept any effort to shut down their ability to speak out and to stand up for what they believe in.”
See also: “Pay to protest” rules spark outpouring of opposition 10/17/2018
photo: at the January 21, 2017 Women's March; photo by Chris Garlock
SEIU and OPEIU Local 2 announced on Tuesday that that they have reached an agreement on a new contract after a majority of Local 2 members voted to ratify SEIU’s offer. “We now look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of our members to ensure that all working people have the opportunity to join together in a union, no matter where they work, to bargain higher wages, better jobs and a brighter future,” said Local 2 in a statement.