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Local 689 Wins Big After Going Out on Strike

After a unified and strong three-day strike, ATU Local 689-Washington, DC, bus operators for the DC Circulator voted overwhelmingly to approve a collective bargaining agreement with RATP Dev. Over 150 workers walked off the job after two intense months of negotiations, shutting down Circulator transportation in the city for three days.

“This is a great day for Local 689,” said Local 689 President Raymond Jackson. “This strike showed the power of fighting for our rights. Local 689 DC Circulator members did what we do best and won. Transit agencies across the country are now on notice. Public transit contractors cannot continue to make cuts on the backs of workers and riders. I’m proud of our members for standing strong and standing together. After months of negotiations, this contract recognizes our members for the heroes they truly are.”


IP Costa and IST Kirk Walk the Line 

On the second day of the strike, International President John Costa and International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk joined ATU Local 689’s picket line at the DC Circulator to stand with workers. Costa gave a fiery speech about the insulting proposal RATP Dev made despite our members being frontline heroes. “This is not a time for concessions. This is a time to take the money and give us a contract for the heroes that we are. That you are!” said Costa. “They’re proposing concessions, they want videos to watch you but yet we get assaulted, spit on, kicked at and nobody does nothing. Put the cameras where they belong for our safety…Not watching us. That’s bullshit!” 

The new three-year contract with RATP Dev includes health care improvements, better retirement benefits, and substantial wage increases. Starting pay is raised over 25% immediately to address the bus operator shortage. Operators at top pay will receive 18.5% increases over the course of the contract. Retirement was changed from an employer match system to a direct employer contribution to members’ 401(k). The workers successfully fought company language that would have outsourced Local 689 members’ jobs as well as eliminated workers’ federal rights under the Family & Medical Leave Act.

“I am proud of our DC Circulator bus operators. When I visited the picket line, I saw firsthand their strength, unity, and solidarity throughout their strike and over the last few months of their contract fight,” said Costa. “The result was a strong contract that recognizes the commitment and dedication of these frontline heroes to provide safe and reliable transportation for the people of DC. Finally, the DC Circulator can address the shortage of bus operators by providing competitive wages and benefits. Thank you to all the workers and our allies who showed up on the line or called your elected officials to tell RATP Dev to accept the union’s proposals to get the DC Circulator up and running again. It was an honor to hold the line with you.”