February 23, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Several bike share workers represented by the Transport Workers Union Local 100 passed out literature outside Moynihan Station on Monday morning to tell the public that they haven’t received the wages they were promised by New York City Bike Share.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed Edwin Aviles, whose main job is transporting bikes to and from different stations throughout the city. He explained that the company that previously operated the city’s bike share, Alta Bicycle Share, promised them wage increases. But in October 2014 BikeShare Holdings acquired Alta and now BikeShare is telling the workers that they didn’t make that promise.
“We’re out here because we were promised wage increases in January 2014 and the company said they would pay us those increases retroactively. But they haven’t given it to us. We’re currently in contract negotiations with the company. They say they want to bargain in good faith, but we feel like we’ve been slapped in the face,” said Aviles.
He noted that the new company refuses to raise wages.
“The new company has said we’re not the old company and we’re not going to pay.”
According to the literature being handed out by Aviles and his colleagues, Citibike workers will be expanding the system to upper Manhattan, Southern Brooklyn and Queens, and that they’ll be installing new technology so that it’s easier to park or unlock the bikes at stations. Aviles and his colleagues believe they’ve done their part to earn a raise. Now it’s the new company’s turn to follow through.
“What’s missing is the wage increase. We want a fair contract. We don’t want to slow down the expansion of the bike share. They say they want to get it done. Management has to make it their business to be at the bargaining table. They shouldn’t be sending human resources to the table because they can’t make the decisions,” said Aviles.