Fairfax Connector Workers Remain On Strike, Negotiations Remain Fruitless


Courtesy of Annandale Today

By Carissa Remington

The Fairfax Connector bus workers launched a unionized strike for better pay and benefits on February 22. Then, on March 1, workers began losing healthcare benefits.  

The Fairfax Connector bus service is the largest of its kind in Northern Virginia, serving 26,000 passengers across 93 routes every day. The union contract, which represents nearly 600 workers, expired in November. In light of this, union members took a vote in December, and 99% of them were in favor of a strike. 

Preceding the strike, Connector workers engaged in twelve negotiation sessions in an effort to avoid this outcome. Transdev, a private company that makes the  Fairfax Connector operate, offered a package they valued at $125,000. 

Benjamin Lynn, the union spokesman, said, “Transdev can put out this big number but the latest proposal is not sufficient to address concrete needs.”

Connector workers are petitioning for livable salaries, retirement benefits, and sick pay. “The strike was a last resort,” Lynn said. 

The salaries of the bus workers and mechanics, being respectively $56,000 and $43,000 on average, leave them without enough to live comfortably, nevermind investing into their retirement. 

As the strike has persisted into March, negotiations have continued to fail. In response to Connector workers who remain on strike, Transdev has cut off their healthcare benefits. 

“The union is concerned that Transdev is taking this retaliatory action against employees who are on strike,” Lynn remarked. 

With the Fairfax Connector out of service, many have been forced to use ride-share apps as alternatives

Mitun Seguin, Transdev spokeswoman, said, “We acknowledge the strike has a severe impact on the community, particularly those that depend on the connector.”

 The community remains split on the subject. While some are in full support, and some desire it to end quickly, all are inconvenienced and frustrated

Each day this strike continues, every affected party continues to lose. The company has lost money, and many people are simply saying to drop Transdev in favor of a company that would have curated more community accommodations. 

In response, workers that remain protesting have lost their healthcare benefits. Stuck in the crossfire, the Northern Virginia community that is reliant on the Connector for transportation is forced to spend money some do not have on ride-shares in order to commute to and from work. 

March has come in like a lion, between the weather and the Fairfax Connector out of operation. All that the community could ask for is March to leave like a lamb.

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