Fairfax Connector strike still looms as talks continue

The Fairfax Connector worker’s union threatens to strike as bargaining table negotiations yield few results. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Marathon bargaining table sessions aren’t going well between the Fairfax Connector’s operator and the union representing its workers, and a strike impacting 30,000 bus riders on 91 Northern Virginia routes is looking increasingly possible.

“If there’s no progress, we will go on strike if that’s what’s required,” said John Ertl of ATU Local 1764 that represents 600 Connector bus drivers and maintenance workers at three garages.

Transdev, the private company that operates buses for Fairfax County, has previously told WTOP that it believes good faith negotiations will yield a fair and equitable agreement without the need to resort to a service disruption.

But the union said in a midday news conference Thursday that negotiations, some lasting until 2 a.m., have resulted in Transdev yielding not even one concession.

Talks remain far apart on wages, retirement benefits and health care.

“They want to double the health care premiums for new workers at one of the jobs, for instance,” Ertl said.

“What we are fighting for is quality, affordable health care and reasonable work rules,” Ertl said.

Last December, Fairfax Connector workers accusing Transdev of continuing unfair labor practices
went on strike for four days.

The union said it’s prepared to do so again. “Transdev has given us no choice,” Ertl said.

According to Ertl, the union has filed 40 allegations of unfair labor practices against Transdev with the federal government that currently are being investigated.

WTOP’S Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

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