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Fed Up Loudoun County Transit Workers Employed by Keolis on Strike Tomorrow, January 11!

Strike begins at 3 AM, 42031 Loudoun Center Place, Leesburg, VA

Forestville, MD – Fed up with a lack of progress in contract talks and unfair labor practices, over 160 Loudoun County Transit workers, represented by ATU Local 689 will be on strike tomorrow morning, Wednesday, January 11, and will stay out until an agreement is reached.

Employed by private contractor Keolis, the bus operators, mechanics, paratransit drivers, dispatchers, and other transit workers voted over 96% in favor of authorizing a strike on November 9, 2022. The strike also includes transit workers that help connect commuters to the new Silver Line Phase II stations in Loudoun County.

“Keolis has left us with no other choice but to walk off the job,” said ATU Local 689 President Raymond Jackson. “We encourage commuters to seek other forms of transportation throughout Loudoun County. After months of negotiations, it has become clear that Keolis has been negotiating in bad faith, committing multiple unfair labor practice (ULP) violations in the process, and has no interest in giving our members the respect that they deserve.”

In April 2021, Keolis first took over the operation of the county’s transit service. At that time, Keolis refused to recognize the existence of the Union in the workplace and did not adopt the contract that was already in place. Keolis unilaterally slashed benefits like retirement and health insurance and began to impose a number of cuts on the workforce, such as the elimination of a weekly guarantee of work hours.

Keolis forced the workers to hold another union election to recertify the bargaining unit. In April of 2022, Loudoun County Transit workers voted 95% in favor of the Union, confirming that they continue to be represented by the ATU. Since then, Keolis has been delaying progress at the bargaining table by continuing to violate federal labor law at a staggering pace, with the National Labor Relations Board having found merit to at least 4 different Unfair Labor Practice Charges against Keolis in Loudoun County.

“Keolis won this contract with a lowball bid with the intention of keeping pay low and cutting benefits to profit on the backs of our members,” Jackson continued. “This company will only realize the true value of its workforce when we don’t show up to work. Keolis can’t drive or maintain these buses. Our members know that they’re the ones that help keep this region moving.”

Keolis has also failed to properly staff up in preparation for the opening of the Silver Line Phase II in Loudoun County. This has been primarily due to the low wages and subpar benefits provided by the company that places Loudoun County Transit as the lowest-paying transit agency in the region. 

“Our Union and our members at Local 689 are fed up with the disrespect Keolis has shown them. We’ve been down this road before in the DC area and will fight until we prevail. Our members will again stand strong and united,” said ATU International President John Costa. “It’s time for Keolis to make a serious offer and treat these workers like the heroes they are.”