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Virginia Bus Drivers Begin Talks for First Contract

February 27, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—City bus drivers began talks Feb. 19 on their first union contract since they voted overwhelmingly to join Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 last November. The about 130 drivers work for DASH, a nonprofit corporation owned by the city that outsources operations to a local subsidiary of the First Transit bus company. They are among the lowest-paid public bus drivers in the Washington metropolitan area: Their top pay is $29 per hour after 20 years, compared with $34 after five years with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrobus, and $32 after five years with Fairfax Connector, ATU organizer Chris Townsend told the Alexandria Gazette Packet. DASH General Manager Josh Baker said pay “has been a priority,” but given the system’s budget, “what we can do is only so much.” Local 689 also wants improvements to the drivers’ 401(k) plan and the reinstatement of driver Latonya Robinson, who was fired in January for allegedly cursing out a supervisor and using a cell phone while on the bus. Driver Tyler Boos said he believes “100 percent” that those charges were retaliation for her union activity. Read more

February 27, 2019

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