June 8, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Fairfax, VA – A year ago, only about half the 600 bus drivers, mechanics, and utilities staff at the Fairfax Connector bus service in Washington’s Virginia suburbs were members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764.
In their previous contract, they’d given up a wage increase in exchange for a promised pension plan—which MV Transportation, the multinational corporation that runs the bus service, refused to establish. Local 1764 launched a campaign to strengthen its relationship with workers and decided to take its demands to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors—which owns the buses, sets the routes and work rules, and can order the contractor to fire a worker—with tactics such as having workers overwhelm the Fairfax Connector’s complaint hotline with calls about their lack of pensions. In April, after a unanimous strike-authorization vote, management agreed to close much of the gap in compensation between garages, restore the raise workers had given up for the pension they didn’t get, increase its 401(k) match by 250 percent, and fix buses so fewer fumes would get in. The union also signed up nearly 200 new members, so it now includes more than 85% of the bargaining unit. Read more