Transportation

Bikeshare Employee: ‘We Need a Better Deal!’

November 4, 2014
By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY—That’s what Juseg Reynoso told us in a video interview at Union Square recently when we asked him why almost 200 bike share employees are looking to organize with Transport Workers Union Local 100.

Reynoso started working for NYC Bike Share, which operates Citi Bike, when it made its debut on Memorial Day Weekend in 2013. He said he and his fellow co-workers feel they deserve better because they’ve been working hard to make the city’s bike share program a resounding success.

“The working conditions are not the best; they could be a lot better. We’re going to fight to get that change,” said Reynoso.

His first job with Citi Bike was installing the bike stations in different locations throughout the city. Now he’s responsible for making sure that bikes are evenly distributed in different locations by driving a van to pick up or drop-off bikes.

“There’s a headquarters in Sunset, Brooklyn that dispatches us to the locations that need to be treated, and we try to respond as quickly and as best as possible. In the future, hopefully, we could work out a system where we could it get done quicker, better and more safely,” Reynoso said.

He said he’s looking forward to representation by the Transport Workers Union Local 100.

“For one, it’ll give us a voice at the bargaining table. I believe there are certain rights that we have in this real rough city that we deserve, and at the end of the day [with representation] we’ll be better able to work together in the future with the company.”

We recently interviewed John Samuelsen, TWU Local 100’s president, on the opportunities and challenges of organizing bike share workers in the city, as well as nationally as the local looks to represent bike share employees in Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Nicholas Bedell, the lead organizer for Local 100’s national bike share initiative, told us that in each of those cities the workers are expressing concerns with their employer, Portland, Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share, which was acquired last week by Bikeshare Holdings LLC.

Some of those concerns include “significant problems with labor relations around scheduling of hours, there are major safety issues on the ground—they don’t have street flagging so they’re exposed to traffic without being able to safely park their trucks when they’re changing bikes. Also, their salaries and benefits are being cut,” said Bedell.

With a new owner, Bedell is hopeful of more positive changes.

“Thankfully, [the new owner] will be moving their headquarters to New York City where we’re a little bit more capable of understanding what it means to operate a transportation system in a marquee city. The expansion of the bike shares indicates that they at least have a commitment to increasing operations and running them right,” Bedell said.

@marcbuss marc@laborpress.org

November 3, 2014

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