Alexandria, VA- The union representing bus drivers and employees of Alexandria’s DASH bus system have called for a strike over compensation. The strike authorization vote from Alexandria Transit Union Local 689 comes amid its collective bargaining contract negotiation with DASH.
“This strike vote sends a loud and clear message to DASH and the City of Alexandria that these drivers demand to be paid fairly and treated with respect and dignity,” said Local 689 President Raymond Jackson. “Alexandria is one of wealthiest communities in the DMV, and with the skyrocketing rents, these workers are being forced to work overtime and most still can’t afford to provide for their families.”
DASH is currently negotiating a new contract with ATU Local 689, and their drivers are some of the lowest paid in the region. The current starting salary for a DASH employee is $17 per hour; the average salary is $21.79 per hour and the top pay is $29 per hour. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority top salary is $32.81 and starting pay is $19.69.
DASH CEO Josh Baker has agreed that his employees need a raise.
“We agree that we are behind in compensation and are committed to negotiating in good faith to arrive at a contract which is agreeable to all parties involved,” Baker told The Zebra last month.
The union is also criticizing the DASH plan to add temporary drivers during the summer metro station shutdown, paying them more money and subsidizing their rent by up to $1,500.
“Paying a rent stipend to these temporary bus drivers is an insult to our members. It’s admission by DASH that they don’t pay their own employees enough to live in the community they serve,“ Jackson said. “It is time for DASH to bargain a fair and just contract that recognizes the commitment, expertise and hard work their bus drivers put in every day to safely transport the people of Alexandria.”