The news site of South Lakes High School.

South Lakes Sentinel

The news site of South Lakes High School.

South Lakes Sentinel

The news site of South Lakes High School.

South Lakes Sentinel

Fairfax Connector Workers Threaten Strike

Fairfax Connector Bus accredited to Photographer Angela Woolsey
‘Fairfax Connector Bus’ accredited to Photographer Angela Woolsey

Contract talks between Fairfax County transportation workers and their employer corporation are showing signs of  breaking down, potentially leading to a strike of almost 600 public bus drivers, union drivers, mechanics and other employees.


On December 29th, a group of employees with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 voted to authorize the strike. Per their privacy policies, the union did not release the exact number of Fairfax County workers who participated in the vote out of its 546 members, but it did announce that 99% of those who voted supported the strike authorization. This move comes about a month after the end of the ATU’s contract with Transdev, which is an international transportation giant that manages transportation lines in 70 countries and on six of the seven continents.

“For the past three months, Transdev has proven time and time again that they are more interested in hoarding their money than making necessary investments to improve their dedicated and hardworking employees’ wellbeing,” Local 689 President Raymond Jackson said in a statement. “Our members are fed up with Transdev’s flat out refusal to fully engage in meaningful bargaining over key economic issues and attempts to distort facts.”

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A new labor contract has been in negotiations since October, when Local 689 delivered its first proposal to Transdev. The union has said its priorities include pay increases, better sick leave, standard work schedules, and retirement security.


Shortly before the prior contract expired on Nov. 30, the union reported some progress, but it said Transdev’s wages still fell short of what workers were seeking.


Now, the union says Transdev “finally presented a decent wage increase proposal,” but the company is pushing the union to drop its demands for “improved dental care and sick leave, retirement security, and more stable working hours.” These new wage increases would be entirely contingent on the union dropping its demands for pay increases, better sick leave, standard work schedules, and retirement security.


Transdev has only been working on the Fairfax Connector since 2019, and didn’t establish a contract with the ATU until nearly a year into its work on the transportation lines. It says it’s “continuing to bargain in good faith” with the ATU.


“To date, we’ve agreed to over 50 modifications to the prior [deal] and proposed significant improvements to wages & benefits,” Transdev said in a statement emailed to ATU leadership and select news outlets. “We value our partnership with the ATU and remain hopeful that we can come to a mutually-agreeable resolution quickly.”


One spokesperson for Local 689 claimed, however, that many of the contractor’s concessions are either “technical corrections or the bare minimum necessary changes to keep somewhat competitive with other transit entities in the region.”


“A vast divide between the two sides still remains,” the union said.

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About the Contributor
Vix Kendley, Staff Writer
Vix Kendley is a Senior at South Lakes High School and a first-year writer for the South Lakes Sentinel. They’ve been writing since exposure to their father’s writing as a young child. They have a passion for theology, political writing, and their acoustic guitar, Gabrielle.

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