Martha Vineyard Bus Drivers Win Historic 28 Day Strike

After a historic 28 day-long strike on Martha’s Vineyard, bus drivers, members of ATU, are declaring victory after finally forcing the Vineyard Transit Authority and its subcontractor TCI to agree to a union contract. 

The union contract includes immediate raises in the top rate from $23.50-an-hour to $25.50-an-hour effective August 1st. Top rate wages will then increase on August 1, 2020 to $27.00-an-hour. 

The contract also raises new hire wages from $16.50-an-hour to $19.50-an-hour effective August 1st and then up to $20.50 an hour by 2021. The agreement also doubles pay for drivers on holidays. 

The agreement also includes strong security language preventing union work from being outsourced and giving seniority to drivers. 

The first contract follows a nearly five-year-long legal battle by the union to get its the foot in the door. 

“This is a victory for VTA bus drivers and all working families on our island,” said VTA driver Richard Townes.  “The strike worked. We didn’t get everything we deserve, but we got a lot closer to what we need and saw significant improvement from the company’s last offer in early June.”

Townes credited the massive community supports the strikers received from all over the Island to being key to winning the strike. 

“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the solidarity of our neighbors and other allies, who rely on and support us year-round,” said Townes. “We still have a lot of work to do together to fix the VTA, but this is a fair contract. Right now we’re ready to get back on the bus and see our riders and friends again and to hopefully develop a mutually respectful and collaborative relationship with the VTA Administrator and TCI, the private contractor, because in our view that’s what’s best for the island.”

Donate to Help Us Cover the Labor Victories the Rest of the Press Ignores

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

Be the first to comment on "Martha Vineyard Bus Drivers Win Historic 28 Day Strike"

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.