After overwhelming vote for strike action
Washington, D.C. transit union conspires with Metro officials while keeping members in the dark
24 July 2018
On Monday, officials from the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 met for the third time in a week with representatives from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the second largest public transit system in the United States, in an effort to block any initiative by Metro workers who voted last week overwhelmingly in favor of a strike.
After emerging from closed-door meetings, which the union called “productive,” it announced: “Due to a scheduling conflict on WMATA’s part, the next negotiation meeting will be Monday, July 30. [WMATA] and ATU Local 689 will continue to confer via email and teleconference throughout the week. The union looks forward to a formal agreement in the very near future.”
Last Wednesday, the ATU announced a “cooling off period,” promising Metro management there would be no decision to strike until their meeting Monday. At the same time, the union appealed to elected officials to force WMATA to “bargain in good faith.”
In a move reeking of both cowardice and duplicity, the transit union is ignoring the 94 percent vote in favor of a strike delivered by workers last week while it continues to conspire with Metro officials in ways to sell out the struggle of its nearly 9,000 members in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, instead channeling their class anger behind the Democratic Party.
Starved of public funds and forced to rely on joint subsidies from the various jurisdictions it serves in the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, Metro has faced a financial crisis for decades, suffering from multiple breakdowns, derailments and…