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Local 1764 MTA MobilityLink Workers Reach Strong Tentative Agreement

Aggressive Contract with Open Bargaining and Strike Threat Lead to One-Year Deal, but Fight for Fairness at MobilityLink Continues

Baltimore, MD – After months of contract talks, a strike threat, and an intense campaign, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Baltimore MobilityLink workers, represented by ATU Local 1764-Washington, DC, have reached a one-year tentative agreement with contractor MV Transportation which will provide our members with some much-needed relief while they continue to fight for fairness at MobilityLink.

This is the first contract for the more than 500 paratransit drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, road supervisors, and administrative employees who provide critical transportation for people with disabilities, seniors, and others. The tentative deal includes significant wage increases, improvements to healthcare, retirement, vacations, and meaningful job security.

“I am extremely proud of the strength, unity, and solidarity our members showed in their campaign against poverty wages and abysmal conditions at MobilityLink,” said ATU International President John Costa. “Our fight for dignity and respect on the job and more reliable and safer service for our riders continues, but we can proudly call this a win!”

In the summer of 2022, the MobilityLink workers voted to join the ATU because they were hungry for change: their wages were falling behind what other workers in the same industry earned in the region, they were frequently exposed to health and safety hazards, like persistent bedbug incidents on their buses, and turnover reached 125% on an annualized basis due to arbitrary firings and abusive management. These inexcusable conditions have resulted in staffing shortages, late buses, passengers abandoned with no return trip, and ultimately, a finding by the U.S. Justice Department that the MTA has violated the civil rights of disabled Marylanders under the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing these problems to persist.

Even with all of these problems, for the first ten months of negotiations, MV was comfortable with the status quo and refused to seriously address its employees’ issues. So, when the Local bargaining team returned to the table in early May, they decided to turn up the pressure by including their coworkers in the process with opening bargaining. 

Over the past month, the MobilityLink workers made sure MV wasn’t comfortable anymore with an escalating series of actions, including culminating in a clear message that they would vote to authorize a strike if a deal wasn’t concluded by the end of August. Once the strike threat was made, the company got serious and came to the table.

“I feel as though it’s a great start. At first, MV didn’t want to agree to anything. We would sit down with them and talk for a whole day and walk away with nothing different from what we started with,” said Brian Johnson, a driver, shop steward, and member of the Local’s bargaining committee. “Now we’re walking away with smiles on our faces.”

The workers will hold a ratification vote on the contract this coming week.  Whether or not this one-year agreement is ratified, ATU members will continue to fight for fair compensation and treatment for the important work that they perform and to improve MobilityLink service so that we can take pride in assisting our passengers to move freely throughout our community consistent with their rights under the ADA.