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ATU Calls on Loudoun County to Fine Keolis for Missed Bus Service That Has Left Riders Stranded

County has also refused $1.5 million in federal transit funds that could end six-week strike


Silver Spring, MD – With Loudoun County Transit riders left without service for the past six weeks, the Amalgamated Transit Union in a letter to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors called on the County to assess contractual damages against contractor Keolis for its failure to provide transit services while their employees, Local 689 members, are out on strike for a fair contract. 

In the letter, ATU International President John Costa also expressed serious concern over the County’s refusal to seek $1.5 million in federal transit funds that could resolve the dispute. The full letter can be downloaded here.

“Loudoun County has a tool it can use to end this strike,” said Costa in the letter. “We are seriously concerned about Loudoun County’s failure to exercise its undeniable right to assess contractual damages against Keolis for its failure to provide service during the strike. The Union is ready to reach a contract, we believe the money is available to make a deal, and Keolis is simply refusing to work with us. Keolis
is dragging out this strike, and you are letting them do so by refusing to assess contractual damages.”

Keolis workers went on strike starting January 11, 2023, due to Keolis’s hostile approach to labor relations, its repeated unfair labor practices in violation of federal law, and its insistence on substandard labor conditions.

The contractual damages are essential to Keolis returning to the table ready to bargain in good faith, end the strike, and restore service. In addition, the letter outlines how the County can receive up to $1.5 million in federal transit funds that can be used for operating assistance, including wages and benefits, which they have refused to do up to this point.

“Your Congressional delegation fought hard for these funds. This shortsighted approach, which has obviously contributed to the current funding gap, is a self-inflicted wound which can be immediately reversed,” continued Costa. “Why wouldn’t you take advantage of these resources? Stranded Loudoun County bus riders would love to know the answer to that question. We strongly encourage Loudoun County to apply for this operating assistance funding to help close any gaps and resolve this dispute.”

By accessing contractual damages and applying for federal funds, it’s now up to Loudoun County to act to bring Keolis back to the table and restore transit service to Loudoun County residents. 

 “In closing, it is our sincere hope that this strike will come to a rapid and collaborative end to restore transit service to Loudoun County’s residents,” the letter continued. “Please act quickly and decisively to bring your contractor to the table to bargain in good faith.”