Cinder Bed Road Strike Support
On October 24th at 3:00am, 120 Metrobus drivers employed by private contractor Transdev went on strike demanding equal pay for equal work. The strike was largely caused by Transdev refusing to offer their employees the same pay and benefits that WMATA employees received. After Transdev refused to resolve the issue in bargaining, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 workers at the Cinder Bed Bus Garage walked out and began the DMV’s first transit strike in decades.
As soon as the strike began DC JWJ lept into action. Our demand was simple: We stand with workers and so should the WMATA board and DC Council. ATU produced leaflets and DC JWJ recruited volunteers to share news of the strike with metro riders across the region. DC JWJ also sent volunteers to join workers on the picket line outside WMATA’s headquarters and on November 21, DC JWJ joined several dozen ATU members in packing a WMATA board hearing. In the middle of the hearing DC JWJ Executive Director Elizabeth Falcon suddenly got up and led five other activists in holding up a large cloth banner that read “EQUAL PAY = EQUAL WORK.” Security hauled them all out of the building but they were soon joined by everyone else as ATU members walked out while chanting and we marched through Chinatown.
On December 10, 47 days after the strike began, ATU Local 689 and WMATA announced they had reached an agreement. Thanks to the solidarity of ATU workers they had succeeded in securing improvements to their wages and benefits and got WMATA to commit to ending private contracting at Cinder Bed Road and across the Metro system.
Written by Nikko Bilitza
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