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Government, Management & Union Meet With Striking Drivers | by Washington Area Spark
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Government, Management & Union Meet With Striking Drivers

Government, Management and union officials meet with representatives of striking Metrobus operators May 18, 1978 at the headquarters of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), 600 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC.


From left to right, Jerry Moore (chair of DC Council transportation committee), Theodore Lutz (WMATA general manager) & George Davis (president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689).


Also shown are Rodney Richmond, union Financial Secretary who would later be elected as a national vice-president of the union (standing to far right) and James "Tommy" Thomas Jr., ATU 689 Recording Secretary who in 1983 become the union's first African American president (standing against wall between Lutz & Davis).


The wildcat walkout was triggered after the early morning rape of a 32-year old female bus operator at Ridge & Burns Streets SE by a man with a knife on May 17.


Bus operators at the former Southeastern Bus Garage at One-Half Street and M Streets SE began the illegal strike and it spread throughout the day to the Bladensburg Road garage and the Northern Garage at 4615 14th Street NW.


A meeting was organized at an RFK Stadium parking lot that evening where striking drivers voted to suspend the strike for two weeks on the condition that a settlement was reached on the safety issue.


The strike resulted in increased police patrols on buses, a shield installed behind the driver, an emergency "panic" button and repairs to broken radios.


The walkout was the first of two wildcat strikes by Metro workers in 1978.


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


See set description "DC Metro Wildcat Strikes: 1978" for more information and additional images:


For information and photos on the 1974 Metro strike, See set description “Transit Strike 1974:"


Photo by Ray Lustig, Star Collection, © Washington Post. This image was not part of the original Washington Area Spark collection and has been added to give context to the time period. Photographed from an original 8 x 10 photograph.

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Taken on May 18, 1978