As news surfaced that the beleaguered DC Streetcar will not be ready this year and an exposé showed that the project has drained more than $200 million in taxpayer funds, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the private DDOT contractor charged with operating the streetcar engaged in illegal anti-union activity, including threatening workers who wanted to join a union. The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) says the decision is a legal victory, but that more must be done by DC Mayor Bowser’s office to improve wages and working conditions for streetcar employees...click below to read more
“Even after we brought these issues to their attention, Mayor Bowser and the DC Council continued forking over millions of taxpayer dollars to the most incompetent transit contractor in the nation,”said ATU International President Larry Hanley. “That is bad news for workers and for people on the X2 stranded behind empty streetcars." Even with all of the problems, the ATU would rather see WMATA run the streetcar project directly, and Hanley called on the mayor “to remove these rogue contractors, recognize the workers’ right to join ATU Local 689, and begin the process of integrating this into a publicly-operated and publicly-accountable transit system.” The NLRB decision came in response to ATU filing an unfair labor practice charging that DDOT contractor RATP Dev. McDonald Transit, and its subcontractor, temp agency The Midtown Group, illegally fired eight of their employees in retaliation for union activity. While the NLRB did not find enough cause to reinstate those eight workers, ATU says their affidavits and the subsequent proceedings "proved that the contractors had violated federal labor law, a development that opens new opportunities for streetcar workers to organize without illegal interference." photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post
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