DC Circulator drivers vote to ratify new contract, ending strike

D.C. Circulator bus operators voted in favor of a new agreement with manager RATP Dev on Thursday, bringing an end to a three-day strike.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the union which represents Circulator drivers, said its members “overwhelmingly” approved a collective bargaining agreement after two months of negotiation. The vote followed news that a tentative agreement had been reached earlier Thursday.

“This strike showed the power of workers fighting for our rights. Local 689 DC Circulator members did what we do best and won,” ATU Local 689 President Raymond Jackson said in a news release. “Transit agencies across the country are now on notice. Public transit contractors cannot continue to make cuts on the backs of workers and riders. I’m proud of our members for standing strong and standing together.”

According to the union, the new agreement provides for health care improvements, better retirement benefits and wage increases, including an immediate 25% boost in starting pay to help alleviate an ongoing driver shortage.

RATP Dev expects normal Circulator service to resume Friday, ending a work stoppage than began Tuesday.

“We are grateful for all the hard work and time that was put in on both sides to reach this agreement,” the company’s chief people officer, Stacy Winsett, said in a statement. “We are glad this was resolved quickly and are looking forward to getting back to the business of servicing our customers in the D.C. metro area.”

Bus drivers hit the picket lines Tuesday morning amid a breakdown in negotiations over wages and benefits.

At the time of the strike, the union accused RATP Dev of “negotiating in bad faith,” threatening to substitute union members with subcontractors, eliminating the worker’s federal rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and undermining progressive discipline.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

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Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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