In February, Midtown and McDonald terminated a third of its workforce over alleged work rule violations. The streetcar workers and ATU dispute those claims and argue that the employers were primarily targeting workers who had signed union cards. The union has filed an Unfair Labor Practice that is currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board. But it’s not just the firings that have workers concerned.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is overseen by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Council. DDOT contracted out management and operations of the streetcar to the private, French-owned multinational RDMT/McDonald Transit. McDonald has now contracted out staffing to a temporary agency known as The Midtown Group.
Local 689 plans to collect 1,400 petitions – a symbolic number representing the predicted average daily ridership of the streetcar – to present to Bowser and the Council later this summer. The workers are also asking area businesses to post signs in windows expressing support for workers and for DDOT to get the streetcar back on track.
“Fix it, staff it, start it—that’s what we’re asking,” Jeter said. “Before we start laying tracks all over town and doing what’s been done to H Street, re-hire these workers and prove to Washingtonians that it can work here.”