LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Transit workers went on strike in Loudoun County Wednesday morning. Drivers, mechanics, and the rest of the key pieces of the public transportation system walked out. They said they won't work until the county's transportation contractor meets their demands.
“They're giving their life to this company,” ATU Local 689 President Ray Jackson said. “All we ask them for is a little respect.”
Jackson led the picket line Wednesday, which started hours before he and his team went back to the negotiating table with Keolis. That’s the contractor that runs Loudoun County’s public transportation.
“Six weeks after they took over the contract, the first thing they did was stripped these workers out of their health benefits,” Jackson said.
The Union said the health benefits are one of the main reasons that the transit workers union and Keolis have not come to an agreement. They also accuse the company of unfair labor practices and other violations of their workers’ rights.
“We can't keep sitting at the table all day and pass the paper, it's like we're negotiating against ourselves,” Jackson said.
We reached out to Keolis for comment.
A spokesperson said they increased workers wages 15 to 30% last year. They added:
“Keolis is committed to providing safe and reliable service for our passengers who rely on transit. We look forward to finalizing a contract that supports the wellbeing of our employees and their families with comprehensive benefits and competitive wages.”
In anticipation of the strike Loudoun County sent out a release about the potential delays and interruptions for public transit.
“The number of bus routes that are impacted cannot be predicted. Loudoun County Transit Services is actively working to have as many routes as possible remain operational while also prioritizing paratransit services. It is unknown how long any labor action could impact Loudoun County bus services.”
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