Friday, November 22 marks 30 days of strike for ATU Local 689 Metrobus workers employed by Transdev at WMATA's Cinder Bed Road garage. "It looks like we’ll still be here in early December, and we may very well see the strike expand across Fairfax County before Transdev comes to its senses," reports ATU's Todd Brogan. "After two days of bargaining, we have made some limited progress, including TA’ing a few non-economic, but we do not have a deal yet. We are back at the table on December 4-5, which will be days 42 and 43 of the strike, respectively. No doubt the pace of bargaining would be better if WMATA opted to penalize Transdev for its failure to deliver service."
At the Fairfax Connector, where ATU Local 1764 is bargaining with Transdev, the union says the company has refused to put an economic package on the table, despite contract expiration and a likely strike rapidly approaching. "If you know people who take a bus in Fairfax County, help them start making alternate arrangements for the first week of December," Brogan suggests.
On Thursday, the WMATA Board room (photo) was filled to capacity with dozens of strikers and community supporters giving passionate testimony to the Board, which arrived 50 minutes late to it's own meeting. As the public comment period closed, activists from DC Jobs with Justice, the Sunrise Movement, and DSA disrupted the meeting, unfurling a banner that read “Equal Pay = Equal Work,” and effectively shutting down the meeting. They were forcibly removed by security, although no arrests were made. A fired-up group of strikers broke into chants and left the room in unison, taking to the streets for an impromptu march to 7th and H that shut down streets for half an hour. Despite this show of growing public discontent, Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld maintained his position that WMATA won’t get involved in the crisis the union says he created.
Federal and local officials from Virginia, Maryland, and DC have now called on WMATA to intervene in the strike:
o Congressmembers Beyer, Wexton, and Connolly sent a joint letter to WMATA.
o Congressman Jamie Raskin sent a letter to WMATA demanding their intervention.
o A letter from Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is also on the way.
o ANC Commissioners in DC are beginning to draft resolutions in support of striking workers, too!
The union is rounding up turkeys for all the strikers to take home next week for the holiday. New rider leaflets are in circulation. If your group is looking to pick some up, contact Brogan or ATU Local 689’s Brian Wivell.
Here’s how you can help:
· Donate $: http://bit.ly/cinderbedstrike
· Donate : http://bit.ly/cinderbedmeals
· Picket in VA (daily): https://facebook.com/events/2310195405775260/
· Picket in DC (weekdays): https://facebook.com/events/553753515478162/
· Link up with DC JWJ to help with solidarity direct actions: [email protected].
· Firewood is still key as the weather gets cold. We’ve got two burn barrels now, and need kindling and logs.
· Call out @wmata on Twitter and @metroforward on Facebook with words of support for the strikers. Remember to tag @atulocal689 and @atucomm on Twitter or @atulocal689group on Facebook so they can repost.