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NLRB Finds Keolis Violated Federal Labor Law Again at Loudoun County Transit, Revokes Settlement

Leesburg, Virginia – Once again Keolis Transit America has been found to have violated federal labor law at Loudoun County Transit by the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Region 5 office, and, on September 7, 2023, the NLRB’s Region 5 issued an order and complaint finding Keolis in default of its obligations under a prior settlement agreement because of its continued lawbreaking.  In the September 7 order, Region 5’s Regional Director Sean Marshall concluded Keolis’s new conduct violated a prior settlement agreement, and took the rare step of issuing a Complaint Based on Breach of Settlement Agreement. These new charges and the default finding come as the latest of a series of unfair labor practices by Keolis against Loudoun County Transit workers since it took over the operation of Loudoun County Transit.

The new charges involve the company’s conduct during the two-month-long strike by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 workers that shut down most of the County’s transit services from January to March, 2023.  Just 10 days after signing a binding agreement to settle the NLRB’s previous charges against the company in Loudoun County, Keolis illegally declared impasse in bargaining with the ATU, imposed elements of its final offer on the workforce, refused to schedule new bargaining dates, and discriminated against employees who went on strike.  The NLRB also found that Keolis discriminated against strikers when they returned to work, made changes without bargaining with the union, and maintained illegal handbook policies.  Upon finding Keolis committed these new violations, the NLRB’s Region 5 found Keolis in default of its previous settlement and took the rare step of reissuing the settled complaint to renew prosecution of the past charges. 

“These charges confirm once again what we’ve been saying the entire time,” said ATU Local 689 President/Business Agent Raymond Jackson. “Keolis has used every dirty trick in the book to avoid its legal obligations, hurting its employees and the entire riding public. These latest findings by the labor board are an indictment of this company’s union-busting behavior. This company has no intention of doing right by its employees or Loudoun County.”

The settlement agreement that Keolis signed with the NLRB on February 24, 2023, committed Keolis to not threaten employees with retaliation for union activity, and to not refuse to bargain in good faith with the union, among other things. Because Keolis violated this settlement agreement, the NLRB will renew prosecution of the case.  Keolis is a recidivist violator of federal labor law, with at least 52 meritorious ULP charges filed against Keolis subsidiaries since June of 2020. 

In April 2021 when Keolis began operating Loudoun County Transit, the company refused to recognize ATU or adopt the ATU contract that was already in place. Keolis forced workers to another union election, where they voted 71-2 to stay with ATU.  Keolis also unilaterally slashed benefits like retirement and health insurance and imposed cuts to workplace standards, such as eliminating the weekly guarantee of work hours. Keolis then provoked a two-month-long strike that devastated County transit services this winter and has yet to settle a contract with the ATU.

“Why is it that a company funded by our tax dollars is allowed to violate the rights of its workers?” asked ATU International President John Costa. “These hard-working public servants who make public transportation possible in Loudoun County deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not with retaliation and discrimination. Once again Keolis is proving itself unfit to run the County’s transit services, and if they won’t do the right thing, they ought to be replaced immediately.”