Pennsy Drive Rail Yard
The day began with a routine presentation at the Finance and Capital Committee by staff. WMATA plans to purchase new property at 3636 Pennsy Drive in Landover, Maryland for the construction of a heavy rail repair and maintenance facility. The staff explained that the new facility would consolidate the employees at the Greenbelt and Brentwood rail yards. The new yard would employ 300 workers and cost around $400 million. We’ll be watching the Authority’s plans closely to make sure that this consolidation proposal does not hurt our members.
Comment on Privatizing Maintenance on Capital Improvements
After a presentation by staff on the current Capital Improvement Program a WMATA Board member asked if there was a possibility that operations and maintenance on new capital improvement projects could be bundled with construction contracting requests. Comments like these show how fundamentally anti-worker and anti-union the WMATA Board is. Outsourcing and privatizing operations and maintenance on capital improvements only enriches wealthy corporations that provide poor service to customers, while treating their workers as disposable. These offhand comments show why it is so important that we find lawmakers in Virginia willing to fight anti-union legislation, like the 2017 ban on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for WMATA’s construction projects.
New Alternate Board Member
Thomas Graham of Prince George’s County was sworn in as a new alternate WMATA Board member from Maryland. We look forward to working with Mr. Graham and hope to meet with him in the near future.
The meeting ended with a short report from the Chair Jack Evans announcing that he would not seek another term as Chair of the WMATA Board. As many members know, Evans is currently being investigated for “pay to play” politics and accepting consulting contracts from companies that have business before the DC Council.
While we are glad to see that Jack won’t seek another term as Chair, we wonder why the WMATA investigation into his corruption hasn’t been released to the public. There is currently a recall campaign against him, he’s facing two primary challengers, and investigations by both the DC Council and FBI, but apparently WMATA doesn’t see a problem with his actions.
Jack Evans has been Chair for 3 ½ years. He’s used that time to go after Local 689’s pensions, privatize public transit work, violate our contract, and offer free metro rides to white supremacists.
It’s time for new leadership on the WMATA Board. Hopefully the new Chair will do the right thing and ask for Evans’ resignation.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689
Raymond N. Jackson, President