FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — For thousands of bus riders in Northern Virginia, the last month has been tough.
Eighteen Metro bus routes have been impacted by a labor dispute involving the Amalgamated Transit Union and a contractor named Transdev.
ATU 689 has been at odds with Transdev ever since Metro contracted its Cinder Bed Road Bus garage to the company last year.
The union decided to go on strike 27 days ago over Transdev's treatment of its workers.
"We're fighting for decent health and welfare, a right to a 401K, a pension and decent wages," said Esker Bilger, of ATU 689.
The strike impacts about 8,500 riders daily in Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington counties.
WMATA CEO Paul Wiedefeld's letter to ATU 689 and Transdev
WMATA's CEO Paul Wiedefeld recently wrote a letter asking both sides to come to an immediate resolution.
"I want to caution both parties against engaging in unproductive tactics for which the riding public has no patience," the letter read.
But, Bilger said Metro should have never hired Transdev in the first place.
"Paul Wiedefeld keeps saying it's between the workers and the company and he has nothing to do with it, but he's incorrect," he said. "It all started with Paul when he contracted it out."
Either way, another bus strike may be on the horizon in Fairfax County.
Transdev is also the operations contractor for the Fairfax Connector. ATU 1764 recently voted to possibly authorize a strike there too over Transdev's treatment of its workers.
Bilger said a work stoppage in Fairfax County could happen as early as December. That strike could impact 30,000 riders on more than 90 bus routes.
Bilger said the ATU and Transdev are set to meet Wednesday to discuss both impasses. He said he is hopeful the current strike can end soon.
"We believe if they (Transdev) sit down at the table, we can find a resolution to this," he said.