Loudoun County Transit bus strike to continue through holiday weekend


The strike by bus operators, mechanics and other workers in Loudoun County is expected to continue through the weekend, labor officials said Friday.

About 140 unionized employees of Loudoun County’s public bus and semi-transit system have been on strike since Wednesday while seeking a new contract with more pay and benefits. The workers were in negotiations with Keolis, a county haulage contractor.

Union officials say Loudoun County transit workers are the lowest paid transit employees in the Washington area. Keolis officials responded by saying the company recently boosted its payroll, while its latest contract offered more money and benefits.

The bus system serves residents in the wealthiest province in the country, operating Monday through Saturday. The system also operates transit buses between the county, Rosslyn, Crystal City, the Pentagon, and the county. The 21-lane Silver Line Bus service connects passengers to the metro, which opened three metro stations in Loudoun County in November.

The Silver Line extension opened with the addition of six stations, the Dulles Connection after years of delays

On Friday, the system operated on a reduced schedule and the Silver Line buses did not run or passenger buses. The county’s transportation department said the Silver Connect and commuter bus service will also not operate on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday.

Service on the Silver Line metro system is not affected.

In addition to seeking more wages and benefits, union officials said the strike is also the result of worker retirement and healthcare packages being reduced in April 2021, shortly after the county awarded Keolis, a Boston-based transit company, a five-year contract. .

“The county does not comment on labor action because it is an issue that must be resolved between Kewlis and its members,” said Loudoun County spokesman Glenn Barbour.

On Thursday, Keolis Labor negotiators with Amalgamated Transportation Union Local 689, the union representing the workers, with what the company said was its best and final offer. Union negotiators declined the offer, and when union leaders tried to arrange future meetings, they said Keulis refused to offer any dates.

“Keolis’ contract offer was humiliating and disgraceful,” Raymond Jackson, president of ATU Local 689, said in a statement. “This company continues to treat our members with disrespect and contempt and continues to bargain in bad faith.”

Keolis officials disputed Jackson’s account. The company said a number of agreements had been reached for a new contract, while the company said workers were given increases in June that ranged between 10 percent and 30 percent. Keolis’ offer included $2,000 bonuses, a retroactive pay increase of 10 percent for all employees, a 5 percent 401(k) company match — up from 2 percent — and additional work vacation.

Metro leaders want to review the impact of a proposed fare increase in the suburbs

“Keolis is committed to providing safe and reliable service to our transit-dependent passengers,” company spokesman Justin Thompson said in a statement. “We look forward to finalizing a contract that supports the well-being of our employees and their families with comprehensive benefits and competitive wages.”

About 150 workers Sit-down On shifts outside the Loudoun County Transit Complex daily between 3 a.m. and 4 p.m., union officials said Phyllis J. Randall (D-general), chair of the county board of supervisors, and Superintendent Julie E. Protesters to pledge support on Friday.