A union of workers at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) protested its new private contractor for bus service in Virginia over 10 hours of labor per day, the DCist reported.
Members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 689, which is known as the Metro’s largest union, staged a demonstration on Thursday at the rapid transit station Franconia-Springfield located in Springfield, Virginia.
The protesters requested that the general public get in touch with WMATA officials in order to eliminate the practice.
“Imagine driving 10 hours straight … we could be at the Florida state line,” 689 President Raymond Jackson told DCist about the situation. “Imagine doing that without stopping for the restroom one time or getting something to eat.”
I really really hope all my folks living on the VA side using WMATA buses knows about the GRAVE mistreatment of those bus drivers. I plan on making a call or drafting an email tomorrow. We cannot privatize public services and expect human-centered policies https://t.co/R9Ox1oUqdJ
— Symphony Bruce (@curlsinthelib) July 12, 2019
According to Jackson, ATU Local 689 was promised to have meal breaks for the employees by the company Transdev, but it did not continue.
The union states on its website that its contract with WMATA will end in June 2020, adding “Our officers all gave commitment to fight like we never have before, to secure our livelihood and better the system for the riding public.”
Many Twitter users reacted to the news, some blaming cruel policies on privatizing public services.
— Chris Ford (@CT_Ford) July 12, 2019
Metro's New Bus Contractor Is Making Drivers Work 10 Hours Without Breaks, Union Says | DCist https://t.co/Ry77T2vvDf This is fucking outrageous. How dare Transdev do this to people. And WMATA is fucking clueless. Disgraceful.
— Erin Berkowitz (@BerkowitzErin) July 12, 2019