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Alexandria DASH Operators Win Historic Contract Fight
“Our goal as a union is to right a lot of really historical wrongs here with these workers and to get them on the path to the future.”
(Alexandria, Virginia) May 20th, 2019 - After three long days of negotiations, DASH bus operators reached a tentative agreement with management on Saturday for pay increases and a pension. The tentative agreement also includes provisions for a Retirement Health Reimbursement Arrangement (RHRA) that many are excited about. On Wednesday, May 22nd, DASH workers will hold a vote on whether to approve the agreement.
“We’ve bargained with DASH management since November when the workers first won their vote to unionize. DASH workers were discouraged by being some of the lowest paid bus operators in the region. We’re proud to say that we’ve been able to reach a tentative agreement that will resolve many of the problems voiced by the operators” said Local 689 President Raymond Jackson.
Past pay scales for DASH maxed out operator salaries at $3 to $10 per hour less than WMATA operators. DASH operators took 20 years to reach the top of the hourly pay scale, rather than the 7 years to reach the max pay within the WMATA system. DASH also insultingly offered $1,500/month rent stipends to temporary hires, but would not offer these same benefits to their existing workers. At the time, President Jackson called the stipend an “admission by DASH that they don’t pay their own employees enough to live in the community they serve.” These factors all contributed to DASH having a high turnover rate among operators. DASH even spent over $40,000 on union busting legal counsel to fight the right of their workers to organize.
Contract negotiations began in January but required the support of the whole community and a unanimous strike vote to make DASH support its workers. “This strike vote sends a loud and clear message to DASH and the City of Alexandria that these drivers demand to be paid fairly and treated with respect and dignity,” said Local 689 President Raymond Jackson. “Our goal as a union is to right a lot of really historical wrongs here with these workers and to get them on the path to the future,” said Chris Townsend, Director of Field Mobilization for ATU International.
"Because of this union contract more of these workers will actually be able to live in the community that they serve,” added ATU Local 689 President and Business Agent Raymond Jackson. Despite many days at the table and several union busting attempts, workers stuck together and fought to improve their situation. ATU Local 689 looks forward to representing these brave workers and also looks forward to a very conducive and progressive relationship with DASH Management.
WTOP: New Metro union head opposes lengthy shutdowns, seeks to engage with riders
Read article here.
Metro can and must balance extending hours and safety
February 22, 2019: In response to the proposal to extend late-night service on Metro Rail to be voted on Thursday, February 28 by the WMATA board, ATU Local 689 releases the following statement:
Local 689 supports the concept of restoring late night service, but only by adjusting the system’s overly-aggressive maintenance schedule. Read more here.
Remembering Our Deceased Local 689 Brothers and Sisters.
WMATA: Fund It, Fix It, Make It Fair
Our Plan to Fix Our Transit System
Our Plan to Fix Our Transit System