WHAT: Demonstration calling on the private operator of D.C. Streetcar, RATP, to stop putting riding public’s safety in jeopardy, provide its workers with affordable healthcare and stop undercutting worker compensation.
WHEN: Thursday, October 19 at 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: D.C. Streetcar Headquarters, 2550 Benning Rd NE, Washington D.C. 20002
WHY: A contingent of Local 689 transit workers and community allies will gather in front of the D.C. Streetcar headquarters on Benning Rd. NE to demand that the private operator of D.C. Streetcar meet industry safety standards and fairly compensate its workers with adequate healthcare and fair wages.
D.C. Streetcar, which opened in March of 2016, is run by the French company RATP Group, and has been riddled by cost overruns, broken commitments, blown deadlines, inept management decisions, and worker disputes.
The workers of the D.C. Streetcar realize that streetcars are part of a larger initiative by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to outsource public transit and further harm the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). In addition to D.C. Streetcar, District leadership has publicly proposed to privatize non-regional bus routes serving the city by giving them to the privately operated D.C. Circulator which has had its own safety and compensation issues.
“The streetcar was sold to the public as a job creator and an economic boost for a neighborhood that needed help,” said Jackie Jeter, President of ATU Local 689. “Undercutting the standards of transit in this area, unwillingness to compensate their employees, and leaving riders and the public unsafe is unacceptable and we will not stand by and let RATP take our tax dollars and do it.”
Workers at the D.C. Streetcar voted overwhelmingly in March of 2016 to join Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689, which already represents more than 10,000 WMATA Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroAccess employees in the region.
The successful vote came less than a week before D.C. Streetcar began carrying passengers and just months after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that private District Department of Transportation (DDOT) contractors RDMT/McDonald Transit and Midtown Group engaged in unlawful anti-union activity, including threatening, intimidating, and interrogating workers who wanted to join a union.