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Local 689 revives the strike tactic after 40 years: 2019 | by Washington Area Spark
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Local 689 revives the strike tactic after 40 years: 2019

Striking Transdev workers at the Metrobus garage on the 7900 block of Cinder Bed Road in Lorton, Virginia pose in front of the entrance December 27, 2019 during their strike against sub-standard wages and benefits.


Several former ATU Local 689 officers came out to support the strike, including Craig Simpson (front row, 4th from left) and Roland Jeter (center with red cap and jacket).


Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 organized and led an 82-day strike for a first contract for employees at the privatized Metrobus Cinder Bed Road garage 2019-20.


The direct action also resulted in an a new labor agreement for the 8,000 employees of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, or Metro) to end the service contract with the private contractor and bring the work back under the main Local 689 agreement and cancel plans for contract out the Silver Line Metrorail work.


The agreement also provided Transdev employees with preferential hiring to the main WMATA system.


A contract with Transdev ended the strike and resulted with increased wages and benefits until the work is folded into the main Metro system in 2021.


The strike represented a blow to further privatization plans in the area.


Local 689 workers had not engaged in strike activity since two 1978 wildcat strikes until they began a series of mini-strikes and other work-to-the-rule actions in 2017-18 primarily against harsh disciplinary policies.


A 2018 vote by the membership overwhelmingly approved calling a strike, and Metro management responded by engaging in serious negotiations with the union and modify a number of the offending issues.


The strike at Cinder Bed Road was the first strike officially called by the union since 1974.


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


For more information and related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image was donated by Craig Simpson


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Taken on December 27, 2019