DC Transit strikers, hit the brakes on bosses with PLP

29 March 2024 253 hits

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA, March 6—Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU 689) workers celebrated improvements in wages and benefits after a solid 15-day strike against Transdev, the contractor providing bus service to county residents. Progressive Labor Party (PLP) members joined the 650+ workers at rallies and on picket lines. We brought the message that communism is the long-term solution to our needs for a decent standard of living globally for all workers, an end to the bosses’ wars, and a solution to the climate crisis. The bosses won’t help with any of those things!

The new contract is still deficient in pensions and other benefits, but it approached parity with the much larger WMATA transit contract that covers the rail system and most of the bus system. Transdev was forced to make such concessions since almost no worker scabbed on the strike (CHALLENGE, 3/13).

The successful strike struck a blow against racism. Virtually all of the bus drivers are Black, mostly immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. Transdev has relied on the old colonial approach of super-exploiting such workers, but had no choice but to back off in light of their militancy and solidarity. But until we succeed in building a revolutionary movement to topple the profit-hungry capitalist system, we will be faced with constant efforts by capitalists to use racism to push back and reduce the standard of living of all workers so they can line their pockets at our expense.

Intensified struggle looming

A series of relatively small transit strikes over the past months in Washington, DC and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs has set the tone for the “main event” – the coming expiration of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA’s) contract with over 9,000 transit workers on June 30. These Metro workers have increasingly come to realize that only antiracist class struggle has any chance of defending and advancing our interests. Workers are increasingly “strike ready!”

But WMATA is facing an operating deficit of $450 million – they will try to take this out of the hide of the working class, both those employed by Metro and those dependent on its service. Recent public hearings have shown Metro’s intent to cut workers back everywhere to solve its deficit crisis. Now is the time for workers to join the PLP to develop a collective strategy for fighting this looming battle while gaining ever greater understanding of the impossibility of capitalism to meet our needs. Trust no politician, turn to the multiracial working class for solidarity and a revolutionary communist future!