ATU Local 689 members from the Cinder Bed Road bus garage have voted overwhelmingly to approve a collective bargaining agreement with Transdev. Over 120 workers have been on strike since October 24th -- the longest transit strike in this region's history and the first strike at a MetroBus garage in 41 years. Workers will immediately report to the garage on Friday, but will be required to attend route retraining sessions. Full bus service will likely be restored sometime early next week. "Our members are looking forward to seeing their passengers again," Local 689 said in a news release.
The striking workers risked eviction and foreclosure, "but chose to stand together and fight to improve their working conditions," Local 689 said. "Many members had to delay essential medical care and spent what little savings they had. Some strikers borrowed money from friends and family to survive for nearly three months. The strikers stood together almost every day in the cold with only the heat from two contained fires for warmth. But despite the costs, the workers never lost hope."
The union credited the victory to "the tireless work of transit riders, union members, activists, and elected officials across the DMV. Their support and pressure made this contract a reality. Community members donated firewood, canned food, home cooked meals, clothing, presents for the holidays, money, and their time. These workers now have a path to retirement security, regular wage increases, better healthcare, sick leave, paid time off, worker protections, and rights on the job."
"This strike was always bigger than one garage.” said Raymond Jackson, President and Business Agent of ATU Local 689. “This was a stand for working people against mistreatment. These workers showed what you can achieve when you fight for what you deserve. This strike should be a warning to transit systems across the country. You should reconsider privatizing public transit. This is what you risk when trying to cut costs on the backs of workers and riders."
“The Cinder Bed Road workers’ ratified contract shows their strike was a victory -- a victory for living wages for transit workers, a victory for fair treatment on the job, a victory for riders and a victory over the privatization of public transportation in the DMV,” said ATU International President John Costa. “I am proud to call these workers my sisters and brothers.”