All Local 589 members, who are not working, as well as retirees are encouraged to stand with our brothers and sisters of ATU Local 1548 at a strike rally on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at 12 – 3 p.m., on the steps of the Massachusetts State House.
The Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) offers bus service to Martha’s Vineyard, but our brothers and sisters are the ones who provide the service. They have been on strike since June 28 due to Transit Connection Inc.’s (TCI), a Florida-based company hired by VTA to manage daily operations, failure to provide a fair contract.
Our brothers and sisters are among the lowest-paid transit workers in the state, despite the higher cost of living on Martha’s Vineyard. Workers have not received raises in five years and many live in state subsided housing due to the poverty wages being paid. Others have quit due to the unaffordable health insurance and low pay, leaving a job to which they have dedicated decades of their lives.
At the rally, Local 1548 will also call for a state audit and investigation into the VTA’s financial records, including all dealings with TCI. The bus drivers, along with other VTA staff and their allies, are calling on state officials to:
- Compel management company TCI to settle a fair contract with the bus drivers’ union, ATU Local 1548, or terminate the company’s contract with the agency if it refuses.
- Bring VTA into compliance with Chapter 161B of the Massachusetts General Laws by accepting the nominations of and immediately seating qualified community members who are seeking to fill the vacant ADA and rider board seats.
- Request and cooperate with a forensic audit of the VTA by the state auditor to ensure the finances of the agency are not being mismanaged by Administrator Angela Grant.
Speakers at the rally will discuss the unsafe practices, including a dangerous reliance on overtime, implemented by Transit Connection, Inc. Additionally, they will speak about the replacement drivers that Florida-based TCI has brought in at higher cost to taxpayers. The speaking program will also feature bus drivers talking about the economic hardship they face in an area with one of the state’s highest costs-of-living.
Hope you can join us and show our union brothers and sisters on the Vineyard that we are ONE ATU!
Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589