“MV left us with no other choice but to walk off the job,” said ATU International President John Costa. “These workers have been heroes working since the pandemic began to ensure people who depend on MetroAccess have transportation. For the sake of our members and their passengers, we hope this comes to a quick end.” Costa added that “We didn’t want to do this to our customers who depend on us. We’ve reached out to groups that represent people with disabilities to let them know what’s going on.”
MV Transportation, a private corporation, provides dispatch, reservation, and scheduling of all MetroAccess paratransit services.
Although MetroAccess workers have been working throughout the pandemic, MV Transportation started bargaining by proposing a wage freeze for most employees, and eventually moved to offer a 1% wage increase, driving morale down and turnover up. Because of the conditions, service has been suffering for riders with disabilities who rely on MetroAccess to get around.
This isn’t the first time workers in this region have gone on strike. Since 2019, workers have been forced to go on strike at the Fairfax Connector, Omniride, and the 85-day long WMATA Cinder Bed Bus Garage strike that ended in victory when WMATA agreed to end privatization in the Metrobus and Metrorail systems.
“MetroAccess Call Center workers are done with being disrespected. These jobs help provide a critical lifeline to riders with disabilities who need to get to doctor’s appointments, pick up prescriptions, and more. Despite this, private contractors like MV Transportation are refusing to give workers enough to live. Shame on WMATA for contracting out these essential services in the first place,” Costa continued. “These workers are standing up and standing together not only for themselves but for their passengers who deserve nothing less than quality service.”
ATU Local 689 is comprised of more than 13,000 members and retirees performing occupations within the many skilled transportation crafts for the WMATA, MetroAccess, DASH, and the Fairfax Connector and DC Circulator and Streetcar, among others. Local 689 is part of the Amalgamated Transit Union (AFL-CIO/CLC), the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada.