Vote “No” on the DC Circulator Contract unless it has protections for workers!
DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) contracts out the operation of the DC Circulator Bus and DC Street Car to private for-profit corporations. The for-profit corporations get rich off of our tax dollars at the expense of workers wellbeing and riders safety. Transit privatization exploits our workers, the majority of whom are African American, further increasing the racial and economic divide in our city. Private contractors have held down workers wages so much that many full-time employees qualify for Medicaid. At the DC Circulator the for-profit company, First Transit, underpaid workers for their labor and a DC audit revealed that First Transit has blatantly ignored the DC Paid Sick Leave Act. Private companies also threaten the safety of riders. First Transit forced workers to violate District safety standards by taking out buses that did not pass pre-trip safety inspections. In fact, a 2015 safety audit found that only 2 of 42 Circulator buses inspected were fit for service.
Many congregations, through the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) has been organizing in solidarity with the frontline workers of the Amalgamated Transit Union to ensure our public transit workers are treated with dignity and respect. In 2016, WIN stood in solidarity with ATU Local 1764 Circulator members, fighting for and winning a 3-year contract to increase wages, triple First Transit’s contributions to employee 401(k) plans, and ensure that drivers won’t have to operate buses that do not meet safety standards. Now everything workers struggled for and won could be lost and 200 people might be at risk of being laid off
We want the DC Government to stop contracting out, and at the very least we want our politicians to require parity with public transit employees in wages, healthcare and retirement benefits for the DC Circulator workers.
Our faith traditions teach us that all people should be treated justly. We remember the words of the prophet Isaiah condemning the exploitation of workers: “You seem eager for God to come near you. Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.” (Isaiah 58:2-4.)