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Baltimore Local Uses Open Bargaining to Drive Positive Change

Tired of being treated with disrespect and poor working conditions, over 400 drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, road supervisors, and administrative employees working for Baltimore MTA Mobility contractor, MV Transportation, voted to join our Local 1764-Washington, DC. Our members were determined to make a change because the property operated like a sweatshop and the notorious general manager, Kami Moody, who had been removed from other MV divisions for sexual harassment, fired more than a quarter of drivers in a 6-month period.

For 9 months, the company refused to bargain seriously, offering only insulting proposals. So, when the Local 1764 bargaining team returned to the table in early May, they decided to turn up the pressure by including their coworkers in the process with open bargaining. More than 30 rank-and-file members answered the call and took time out of their day to take part in negotiations, sending MV a loud and clear message that we mean business.


We Will Not Be Silent

As negotiations continued, the MV bargaining team was greeted by our members holding a petition banner signed by more 350 of our Local MTA Mobility members demanding fair pay, due process around discipline, reasonable scheduling, and a safe and healthy workplace. In addition, our MTA Mobility drivers who had faced illegal retaliatory firings spoke up to show the company that they will not be silenced. 

“They wanted me to take a bus that was infested with roaches and had just been sprayed with pesticides out on the road, and I refused. I spoke out not just for my own safety but for passengers too. And Kami Moody fired me in retaliation,” said Local 1764 Sister Julisha Ruiz, a driver.


Retaliatory Firings

Sister Ruiz was part of a group of our members terminated under similar circumstances who filed a joint Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) against retaliatory firings. Rather than allow the case to go to a hearing, MV agreed to allow her and her coworkers to return to work while placing Moody on an indefinite “leave of absence,” bringing in new management, and starting to implement fairer disciplinary policies.


Open Bargaining Succeeds

Our opening bargaining strategy paid off as the Local made more progress than in previous meetings, but there is a lot of work left to do.

At first, MV was speechless, but they were forced to apologize to our members they had victimized. The company admitted that they disciplined and fired people unfairly, but they still rejected the Local’s proposals for clear rules to protect workers. MV’s wage proposal was an improvement over previous offers, but it was still far from keeping up with the rising cost of living. 

With this success, the Local’s bargaining team is resolved to bring even more members to the next negotiation session. Stay tuned to the ATU website and social media for updates as our Local 1764 members at MTA Mobility fight for the fair and just contract they deserve.