International President Larry Hanley sends letter to Maryland lawmakers regarding essential funding for the MTA
Forestville, Md.: On February 10 and 11, 2018, a crew of 20 track maintenance workers (pictured), represented by ATU Local 689, and six supervisors, traveled to the Baltimore transit system to perform essential track repair work.
The report by WMATA to the Washington Post that the crew was sent to Baltimore to provide “technical assistance” is a slap in the face to the hard-working crew who traveled to Baltimore at a time that their subway system has been rendered inoperable. Based on Metro’s response, it is clear the people of Baltimore, who depend on their rail system, are more appreciative of the work done by these Metro workers than Metro’s own leadership who instead find it more convenient to scapegoat them when problems arise on the Metro system.
WMATA track maintenance are some of the best workers in their field, who exceeded time expectations of work done last weekend. It is disrespectful and dishonest to the tax-paying public that Metro would present the work performed by their workforce as insignificant or merely to assist.
· The work performed totals 320 hours of manpower (without overtime) that these workers gave to Baltimore at the expense of WMATA.
· The essential work this crew did included laying 13 stringers (310 feet worth of rail, each) and an additional 78 feet totaling 4,108 feet (more than ¾ of a mile) of rail that Metro’s track crew completed without the assistance of those employed by MTA.
· The crew also drilled and replaced joint bars along the track.
· The track replacements were done at or near the West Coldspring station and Ownings Mills stations.
ATU Local 689 would like to thank our members for the time they gave to the Baltimore rail transit system at a time that their work was needed:
Marlow Franklin, Dion Short, Gary Marshall, Chris Hamlin, Chester Campbell, Matt Hughes, Lindsay Frye, Melvin Phillips, Willie Taylor, Kenny Euell, Jamaal Haggie, Juan David, Phillip Fitzsimmons, Petey Kates, Maurice Williams, Wayne Carroll, Kenneth Chioma, Robert Childress, Bob Fansler, Sharaf Ashkar, Supervisors- Gregory Watkins, Folger Moore, Jimmy Gauthier, Micheal King, Mook, Alan Young, Matt Hughes, Lindsay Frye, Melvin Phillips, Willie Taylor, Kenny Euell, Jamaal Haggie, Juan David, Phillip Fitzsimmons, Petey Kates, Maurice Williams, Wayne Carroll, Kenneth Chioma, Robert Childress, Bob Fansler, Sharaf Ashkar
Supervisors- Gregory Watkins, Folger Moore, Jimmy Gauthier, Micheal King, Mook, Alan Young
Annapolis, MD: On January 27, 2018, members of ATU Local 689 came out to the state capital to endorse HB 312, a bill designed to increase the penalty of transit assaults in the state of Maryland, at the House Judiciary Committee meeting.
"Every week, sometimes every day, our union hall receives reports on a member being spit on, slapped or threatened with a knife or a gun," said First Vice President Carroll Thomas in his testimony to the committee. "But this is not just about the operators. These situations place everyone on the bus, and even the public around the bus, in danger. That is why this legislation is needed. Not just to protect us, but to protect the public."
Annapolis, Md. --- Yesterday, a delegation of Local 689 members made the trek to Annapolis to join State Del. Angela Angel for her introduction of a bill that will make attacks on transit workers a felony to the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 28 will give the same protections granted to transit workers that are already extended to law enforcement and emergency responders.
There are dozens of stories, year after year, of incidents where bus and train operators, as well as station managers, have been spat on, slapped, tased, stabbed, and most recently doused with urine. Local 689 understands that transit worker assaults are not only a danger to the workers, but also to the riding public, who are also placed in harm’s way when these incidents occur. When an operator is distracted, their vehicle is attacked with rocks and bullets, or a station manager cannot perform work because they are being assaulted, everyone is in danger.
Following the urine dousing incident on a Metro bus operator last summer, the union began calling on the respective legislatures of D.C., Maryland and Virginia to increase the penalties of transit assaults. Local 689 is happy to support Angel’s bill and is prepared to work for its successful passage.
Washington D.C. – January 8, 2018: The D.C. Streetcar front line workforce ratified their first collective bargaining agreement between the labor union ATU Local 689 and the Streetcar’s private operators The Midtown & RDMT, LLC last Friday. Highlights of the contract include wages competitive with their WMATA counterparts, and an affordable medical insurance program.
Local 689 Members Testify
Local 1764 Members Testify
Clergy and Community Speak
DC Council Responds
Jackie L. Jeter has been elected to complete her fourth term as President and Business Agent of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, by an overwhelming 68% of the vote. She, along with Financial Secretary-Treasurer Esker “Butch” Bilger, Recording Secretary Brenda Thomas, First Vice President Carroll “Popeye” Thomas and Second Vice President Raymond Jackson will all return as the union-wide elected Top Five officers of the union.
“One thing that everyone at Local 689, and throughout this region, can agree on is that Metro is at a breaking point,” Jeter said. “I am thankful to the membership for re-electing me and allowing me to continue my service to our members as we stand together to make Local 689 a more perfect union and Metro a better system.”
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R–Va.) on Monday unveiled the "METRO Accountability and Reform Act," a bill with no regional co-sponsors that she claims is intended to set the troubled Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) system “right.” The bill and its objectives line up well with the Trump administration’s objectives of enriching private contractors, harming the middle and working class, and decreasing public accountability.
Comstock’s bill includes several sweeping reforms to WMATA's governing structure and labor relations in exchange for an additional $75 million annually from the federal government. The money is essentially being offered as a bribe in order to get stakeholders to go along with the more controversial changes in the bill.
Comstock's bill would cap Metro's annual spending at current levels for the next five fiscal years, meaning employees would be denied raises or cost of living increases for half a decade.
New Metro employees would be shifted from traditional defined-benefit pension plans to defined contribution 401(k) plans. The bill would also encourage WMATA to outsource more of its services to private providers, and limit opportunities to earn overtime on union employees.
In additional to Comstock’s assault on Metro employees, she also presents a proposal to replace the current 16-member board of directors with a 5-member Metro Reform Board. This board would have sweeping powers to unilaterally amend, renegotiate, or void all current and pending union and supplier contracts.The reform board would also have the power to renegotiate current liabilities, which could mean more sweeping pension and employee benefit changes.
Read the official bill from Comstock’s office here.
THURSDAY: Hundreds of Metro Workers to Protest the Privatization of Metrobus at Virginia’s new Cinder Bed Road Bus Facility
Who: Hundreds of members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689.
What: Anti-privatization protest against private contractors seeking to manage and operate nine existing Metrobus routes who will be meeting with WMATA officials inside the Cinder Bed Road Bus Facility.
When: Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Cinder Bed Road Bus Facility, 7901 Cinder Bed Road, Lorton, VA
For the first time in Metro’s forty year history, private contractors, known to relax safety standards, will be bidding to manage & operate existing Metrobus routes out of the new Cinder Bed Road Facility
Washington D.C. – December 5, 2017: This Thursday morning, hundreds of members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the union representing more than 9,000 of Metro’s front-line employees, will hold an action to oppose the outsourcing of bus operations and maintenance at the new Cinder Bed Road Bus Facility in Lorton, Virginia. The rally will occur as private contractors are inside meeting with WMATA representatives to discuss the bidding process to manage and operate nine existing Metrobus routes that will be relocated to the facility in 2018.
Privatization has led to relaxed safety standards around the country and the union firmly believes that the expansion of privatization at Metro is the wrong direction for the system and the tax-paying public. WMATA was founded, in large part, because of the lax standards of private contractors in the 1950s, much like the ones who operate D.C. Circulator and D.C. Streetcar, two systems that have had numerous safety, pay, benefits, and work environment problems in the last two years. The winner of the Cinder Bed facility’s bid will be able to set its own standards for safety, wages and work rules.