- 1915 - The organization of transit workers started in November
- 1916 - January 19th. Charter granted - wage rate about 22₵ per hour
March 1st. Demands presented to employers.
March 4th. Strike called.
March 8th. The parties agreed to arbitrate; the Award to be made by April 1st.
- 1917 - The Capital Traction Company negotiated a new contract with 689 but the Washington Railway and Electric Company refused to negotiate. A Strike resulted, which the Local lost.
- 1918 - World War I induced an uneasy peace between the Local and the Washington Railway and Electric Company but this never developed very far.
- 1920 - The years after the war, through the twenties and early thirties, were uneventful land wages by 1925 reached 56₵ per hour
- 1933 - The employing companies merged. The Washington Railwaymen were enrolled in the Union.
- 1940 - The Local secured the first 1 week paid vacation.
Credit union was formed.
- 1941 International Convention at Atlantic City, N.J. ruled that the strikers who returned to their jobs within one year at time of the 1917 strike would get back their original seniority.
- 1943 World War II. Contract improvements were regulated by federal control
- 1945 - Two wildcat strikes, at which time the Company insisted upon arbitration in accordance with contractual commitments
Established a pension agreement; one of the first funded and trusted pension plans in the industry.
- 1947 - 689 found itself in the unfriendly atmosphere prevailing, further aggravated by the Taft-Hartley Bill.
- 1949 - The Wolfson Management took control of the Company and in a few months 600 jobs were lost to our 4,700 members.
Two paid holidays were secured.
- 1951 - 2,400 operators went on a three-day strike to secure seniority rights for 1200 non-operating personnel.
- 1953 - A pension dispute over which the Wolfson Management refused to arbitrate and 689 resorted to the Courts, without any satisfaction until the contract settlement of 1955.
- 1954 - Th Health & Welfare plan became effective and the Wolfson Management predicted "…there is going to be one helluva strike here in 1955."
- 1955 - There was a 52-day strike, 689 won the strike, Wolfson lost his franchise and O. Roy Chalk was the successful bidder for the new franchise.
- 1955 - First black bus operators: James R. Russell and Robert Pettigrew.
- 1956 - Another strike was averted when the new company, The D.C. Transit System, Inc., agreed to voluntary and binding arbitration in the settlement of contract differences.
- 1957 - The Auxilary was born and the Local played host to the International Convention.
- 1959 - Health Care program became effective and the Labor Management Health Center was opened on New Hampshire Avenue, on April 6th.
- 1961 - Another first - the extra men got a 40-hour guarantee. Again there were other across the board improvements.
- 1962 - After 99 1/2 years, the Street Car left the Washington scene. 689 broke the $3.00 per hour rate.
- 1963 - December 19th. The D.C. Transit System, Inc., took over the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Coach Co. Local Division 1079 of the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Coach Co. merged with Local Division 689.
- 1964 - Local 689 secured a First in the Industry, a First in the Nation when they secured their pension plan, which provides that the same percentage of increase as the top operator receives in this agreement, and all future increases, will automatically apply annually to all pensioners, including any increase in the cost of living
- 1965 - A wage rate of better than $3.00 an hour and eight weeks of vacation was also secured in this negotiation.
- 1966 - Three-year agreement reached in December established highest rate for bus operators, $3.755 negotiated as of that time. By the end of the contract the COLA clause produced $.465 more yielding a rate of $4.22. Other improvements included: 1) Vacations - 4 weeks after 12 years' service (was 14); 5 weeks after 24 years, eff. 7/68 (was 25 yrs.); and 1 add'l day for each year after 28, eff. 7/68 (was 30 yrs.). 2) Operator's Instruction Pay - Increased to $.50/hr. (was $.25). 3) Other - Sick leave, bereavement leave, uniforms and work clothes allowances, and health and welfare were also improved.
- 1967 - First black female bus operator - Sarah Owens.
- 1968 - The fatal shooting of Operator John E. Talley at 1:20 AM on May 17 during an attempted robbery sparked a 2-hour wildcat strike. Six robberies that day brought the 4 1/2 month total for 1968 to 232 hold-ups of bus operators. Late-night drivers refused to carry money, tickets or tokens and would accept only exact fare and DC Transit suspended night service. The dispute was mediated and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission ordered DC Transit to stop the practice of operators carrying change-making funds on night runs, effective June 11, 1968, and on all runs within 55 days of June 1, 1968, making Washington the first city to order the elimination of change-making. On August 4, 1968, 24-hour "exact fare" operation took effect. Transit systems in Baltimore and Oakland eliminated change-making shortly after Washington did.
- 1969 - On December 9, Metro broke ground for first rail station, Judiciary Square.
- 1970 - Although the Simpkin Award, dated 1/28/70, resulted in the loss of the percentage cost-of-living clause and other take-aways, it did provide for the gradual assumption by the employer of the employees' share of the cost of the Health & Welfare plan over the term of the agreement.
- 1973 - Agreement effective 11/1/72-4/30/74, signed in January, re-established full percentage cost-of-living clause and provided for 9th and 10th holidays (Columbus Day and a floating holiday). The sick leave waiting period was reduced to 2 days, unused sick leave could be credited as service for pension purposes and bereavement leave was no longer charged to sick leave.
Also in 1973:
WMATA took over DC Transit and WV & M in January and completed final takeover of private properties (AB & W and UMA) in February. Entire system now publicly owned.
- 1974 - First black full time elected officer. 1974-1979, Rodney Richmond. Secretary-treasurer, assist. B.A.
Also in 1974:
The agreement effective 3/1/74 - 4/30/76 continued the full percentage cost-of-living clause in addition to basic rate increases and provided for normal pensions for employees retiring at age 58 with at least 27 years' of service, i.e., sum of age and service = 85 (first time one could retire under the age of 60 with a full pension benefit). Martin Luther King Day added as holiday if Authority operates a holiday schedule. There were also improvements in life insurance, sickness and accident insurance, vacation, and provisions relating to operators such as spread pay and percentages of straight runs.
- 1975 - Supplementary rail agreement signed, establishing wage rates and other provisions applicable to operating and maintenance employees in the rail system and providing for inclusion of rail system employees under the terms of the basic collective bargaining agreement.
- 1976 - First segment of MetroRail opened in March.
An arbitration award continued the percentage cost-of-living clause (which WMATA had sought to modify drastically), established a dental plan with the Authority paying 50% of the cost and provided other improvements in Health and Welfare and pensions.
- 1977 - First black recording-secretary--James "Tommy" Thomas, 1977-1982.
- 197 - Wildcat strike halted bus and rail service for a week over Metro's failure to pay COLA under rollover provision. Arbitration panel ordered Metro to pay the disputed COLA.
- 1979 - Local 689 and WMATA selected Richard Bloch as permanent grievance arbitrator.
- 1980 - The Gill Award for the contract effective 5/1/80-4/30/83 provided for many improvements including:
1) Pensions - reduced employee contributions by from 7% of pay to 5.5% by 5/1/82; lowered normal retirement age to age 55 for employees whose age and service add up to 85; provided for 100% vesting after 15 years' service (50% after 10 years increasing 10% for each year of service between 10 and 15); added survivor benefit for employees who die prior to retirement.
2) Health and Welfare - Improved dental and basic health insurance benefits; increased life insurance by $3,000 for active employees and $1,500 for retirees; increased sickness and accident insurance by $10 per week (to $65).
3) Vacations - 4 wks after 10 years (was 11); 5 weeks after 20 years (was 24); 6 weeks after 30 years (was 33) plus 1 additional day for each year of service after 30.
4) Other - increased uniform allowance to $100 eff. 7/81; provided for 3 sets of workclothes per week (was 2 sets); increased tool allowance to $80 eff. 5/81; added 3 days bereavement leave for grandparent's death; voluntary COPE checkoff provision added.
- 1983 - First black president - James "Tommy" Thomas.
The agreement effective 5/1/83-4/30/86 included the following improvements:
1) Pensions - The employee contribution of 5.5% was eliminated effective 7/1/83 and the survivor "baloon" provision was established. Former AB&W employee benefits were increased.
2) Wages and COLA - COLA was incorporated and base rates were increased by 6.5% on 5/1/84 and 5/1/85 and by 80% of the increase in the CPI above 6.5% in the preceding year with adjustments effective on 4/30/86.
3) Health and Welfare - Dental plan was upgraded by adding periodontics and increasing co-payment to 80% of UCR. Life insurance and sickness and accident insurance were increased; podiatry coverage was added; coverage was continued for the surviving spouse and dependent children of active or retired plan participants for a period of 1 year following the employee's death.
4) Vacations and holidays - 5 days of vacation may be used single-day increments; Inauguration Day was added as a holiday.
5) Other - there were also improvements in uniform and tool allowances and benefits for part-time operators.
- 1984 - Negotiated employee assistance program.
- 1985 - Negotiated attendance policy.
- 1986 - In June of 1986, Washington operators had the highest wage rate for operators on any transit system in the United States ($14.14). That agreement, effective 5/1/8/6-4/30/89, provided many other improvements including:
Health and Welfare - Established a "flexible benefit" program funded bu Authority contributions of $50/month for family participants and $30 for single members. Employees may select from a list of options in addition to those provided by the current health & welfare plan.
Pension - 100% vesting after 10 years (was 15); full (unreduced) pensions available when the sum of employee's age and service equals 83; Authority continues to pay total cost.
4) Sick Leave - 2 day waiting period eliminated for those with 10 years' service who accrue and maintain 12 or more days of sick leave; attendance bonus established providing one-half day for each calendar quarter of perfect attendance which can be accumulated without limit, added to sick leave, or paid in cash each year (max. 1 day per year paid in cash).
5) Other - Many other improvements in uniform and tool allowances, benefits for part-time operators,no layoff for full-time operators while part-time operators on payroll, pay for physical exams, subcontracting of custodial services, work selection procedures, and more.
- 1989 - The agreement effective 5/1/89-4/30/92 included the following improvements:
1) Wages and COLA - In addition to the 4.5% wage increases each May 1, wage rates were increases by 80% of the increase in the US CPI above 4.5% over the proceeding 12 months, effective April 30 of each year.
2) Health and Welfare - No employee contributions between 5/90 and 5/91, then employees pay 1/3 of increase over 12/90 rates; life insurance increased to $20,000 for full time employees and $15,000 for part-time employees (was $12,000 and $9,000); survivor insurance coverage increased to 2 years.
3) Pensions - full (unreduced) benefits after 30 years' service at any age; early reduced retirement possible at age 50 with 20 years' of service; benefit formula increased to 1.5% of high-4 earnings for each year of service (approximately 14% increase in benefit amount); plan continues to be non-contributory for employees.
4) Also improvements in vacation pay, uniform and tool allowances, grievance procedure and meal allowance.