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Metro Workers Rank and File Action Caucus – 1978-80 | by Washington Area Spark
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Metro Workers Rank and File Action Caucus – 1978-80

An upsurge of militancy among workers in the late 1960s through the 1970s who sought to fight back against the attacks by employers was accompanied by an explosion of caucuses within unions.


The Metro Workers Rank and File Action Caucus was formed in the wake of the 1978 cost-of-living wildcat strike that paralyzed bus service and the embryotic subway service for a week in July 1978. At least two caucuses arose out of the strike. One was influenced by the Progressive Labor Party and the other was the Action Caucus.


The caucus lasted about two years during which it held a fundraiser for workers fired during the strike, proposed more democratic bylaw changes, investigated the union’s finances and finding some discrepancies and running candidates for union offices in the elections scheduled for December 1979. The election was postponed for a month to January 9th and a runoff was held January 16, 1980 in instances where no candidate received 50 percent plus one of the vote.


Two Action Caucus members won two board seats and Progressive Labor won one board seat out of the 15 seats available. Allies of the Action Caucus on the Unity Slate won two of the top five positions: secretary-treasurer and 2nd vice president and also won two additional board seats. The incumbent president was defeated by an independent candidate.


Action Caucus members would play key roles in the union in the years to come. Maurice Waller served as shop steward/executive board member from Northern Division for about 10 years; Phillip Mayo served as shop steward/executive board member from Montgomery Division for three terms, and also as an appointed business agent; Harold Hume served as shop steward from Bladensburg Shop for two terms; James Bynum served a shop steward from both maintenance and station managers, and as 2nd vice president. Herb Bynum served as shop steward from maintenance and Recording Secretary; Craig Simpson served four terms as shop steward at Northern Division for about 10 ½ years, as an appointed business agent for 4 ½ of those years, and as financial secretary-treasurer for about 7 ½ years. Mike Golash from the Progressive Labor-influenced caucus served as shop steward from Northern Division, financial secretary-treasurer and as president.


The following documents are available as PDFs:




Vol. 1 No. 1 – Sept. 5, 1978:

Vol.1. No. 2 – Oct. 1978:

Vol. 1 No. 3 – Nov. 1978;

Vol. 1 No. 4 – Jan. 1979:

Vol. 1 No. 5 – Jun. 1979:

Vol. 1 No. 6 – Aug. 1979:


Minutes, flyers and election material:


Caucus minutes – 7/30/78 – 10/1/78:

Turn out for the arbitration hearings flyer – 8/21/78:

Report of the Local 689 audit committee – 10/2/79:

A vote for Mayo-Waller-Simpson is a vote for change – election flyer 11/79:

Elect the Unity Slate platform—11/79:

Letter on the disqualification of Walter Tucker as presidential candidate—11/19/1979:

Vote January 9 Mayo-Waller-Simpson—1/9/80:

Vote Mayo-Waller-Simpson in the runoff elections—1/16/80:

Attend the new officers installation—2/80:

Unofficial election results—2/80:


For a blog post on the turmoil in the D.C. transit union from 1974-80, see


For more information and related images, see


Donated by Craig Simpson


1 fave
Taken in November 1979