We seek to continue to connect the next generation of DC residents to promising living wage union careers addressing climate change.
WIN is organizing solidarity with public transit workers who get us where we need to go, are essential workers, climate workers, and deserve promising union careers. WIN is organizing to increase the wages and benefits utility workers working for Pepco contractors, with legislation before the council. Pepco has also agreed to increase local DC hiring to 100 new careers a year in the electric sector. We organized for and won local hiring on DC Water stormwater projects needed to make the District more resilient in the face of climate change. We seek to continue to connect the next generation of DC residents to promising living wage union careers addressing climate change.
Despite DC’s economic boom and DC’s recovery from the recession, DC’s Black unemployment rate is the highest in the country at 12.9%.1 In high unemployment zones of the District, like many neighborhoods east of the river and among youth and returning citizens, the rates can be even higher. In addition to high unemployment, the wages of DC’s lowest income workers have been stagnant or falling. WIN and Metro IAF organizers in DC are aggressively organizing to make unemployment, wages and benefits central issues in the District over the coming years.
Anchor Institutions Strategy
In 2017 WIN launched a new strategy aimed at getting DC employers in key sectors to make hiring commitments of unemployed people especially focusing on communities with the highest unemployment rates: Returning Citizens and Young People. In 2017 WIN initiated a series of relational meetings and house meetings to deepen our base in the heavily segregated, African American area of the city east of the river where living wage jobs is a central issues. At a 700-person action in July 2017 with Mayor Muriel Bowser, the front rows of church were filled with over 200 leaders from wards 7 and 8 including 50 returning citizens.
The DC Water Jobs Campaign
Since 2013 WIN has been organizing to connect the “Dead Zones” of the Chesapeake Bay to the “DEAD ZONES” of unemployment in many DC neighborhoods. In 2013 WIN began a campaign pressing for DC Water to hire more DC residents, especially given that DC residents were being asked to invest $2.7 billion in the Clean Rivers Project. The project was designed to clean up stormwater runoff as a result of an EPA mandate. In 2014, DC Water signed an agreement including a 51% local hire, contribution of $1.25 million to open job training programs in DC, and the creation of a national certification for Green Infrastructure work. In 2017, DC Water Works hired 51 (60%) DC residents, this is up from 11% district residents in FY 2013. Also in 2017 the first two classes produced 16 DC residents who are certified in Green Infrastructure.
“There has never been more of a focus on jobs at DC Water ever in its history and it is a result of WIN’s pressure.”
We are organizing so that transportation is affordable and accessible to residents in all neighborhoods in the District.
Transportation is the number two driver of climate emissions in the District. We are organizing so that transportation is affordable and accessible to residents in all neighborhoods in the District. We are making it easy and safe for residents to ride transit – especially the bus- open ups educational and economic opportunities. We are organizing with residents to identify places disconnected by public transportation because the wait times for a bus are too long. We also are seeking ways to address concerns about safety on public transportation without over-policing.
Increasing Circulator Driver Wages
Since the DC Circulator’s inception ten years ago, DDOT has contracted out is daily operations to First Transit, a private multinational company. For ten years First Transit workers have faced substandard pay and benefits. Making around $8.22 per hour less than MetroBus operators while doing comparable work. As a result, it was extremely difficult for them to afford to live in the District where they were employed. In addition, an audit revealed that First Transit had blatantly ignored the DC Paid Sick Leave Act. First Transit even forced workers to violate District safety standards by taking out buses that did not pass pre-trip safety inspections. Metro IAF Organizer Amy Vruno and key WIN leaders entered into an alliance with ATU Local 1764 Circulator workers to figure out a strategy to get the DC Mayor and Council to take some responsibility for the privatized workers that the DC government was paying. WIN leaders joined with union workers in multiple meetings with Councilmembers and Mayor Bowser to press for action. The Campaign led to a new 3-year contract increasing maximum wages from $23 to $31 per hour ad tripling First Transit’s contributions to employee 401(k) plans. The contract also included language that will ensure drivers don’t have to operate buses that do not meet safety standards.
Flyn ‘Tiny’ Burke ATU 1764 Circulator worker
Keeping WMATA Public
WIN is partnering with sister-IAF affiliates in Virginia and Maryland, and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 to protect the public interest in Washington area’s public transit system. WMATA will need a significant funding increase and a dedicated funding source it can rely on in order to ensure rack repairs are completed, worker pay and benefits are sustained, and service in low income communities is not decreased. In exchange for additional public financing, the position of WIN and its allies is that WMATA must eliminate hiring barriers and increase the employment of returning citizens, youth, and residents in high unemployment areas in DC. In July of 2016 ATU Local 689 and Metro IAF held a 600-person action with WMATA Board Chair Jack Evans launching our position. In the coming year, Metro IAF and the ATU will be a driving force pressing for smart public infrastructure investment tied to living wage jobs.
Rev. Mike Wilker Speaking at the July 217 WMATA Action
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DC STREETCAR
Did you know that the Streetcar, Metro Access, and the Circulator are all contracted out by the city to multi-national private firms? Because of this, the workers do not receive the same benefits of Metro employees who work for the city. While providing a public service, the privatized transit workers receive low wages, poor benefits, and no retirement. WIN believes that those who “move our city” should be treated better. WIN leaders are meeting with DC Council Members to create change and fight for better benefits alongside workers.
If you want to learn more about the DC Streetcar, Circulator, WMATA, and the effects of privatization you can look at our One Pager.
STREETCAR HISTORY PART ONE
STREETCAR HISTORY PART TWO
MORE TRANSIT WORK WITH THE DC CIRCULATOR
TAKE ACTION ON THE DC CIRCULATOR BY SHARING OUR VIDEO
Spread the word! Share our video on Facebook and Twitter. Tag @DDOTDC, @DCCirculator, and use the hashtag #FairTransitDC to support quality PUBLIC transit and to stand against race-to-the-bottom companies profiting off our tax dollars!
Learn more about the DC Circulator campaign and how to get involved in the fight!
WIN is a non-partisan network of faith institutions, non-profits, unions, and neighborhood leaders across all eight wards of the District. In an increasingly polarized time, we unite people across lines of race, class, religion, and neighborhood to build power for social justice. We organize ordinary people to take actions that strengthen and improve the quality of life of our communities. We believe people working together have the power to change and create a more just and equitable District.