On Wednesday, Teamsters at MV Transportation voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. Teamsters have been working overtime throughout the pandemic providing transportation to the disabled and elderly population in King County, but the company has failed to recognize the heroic service these workers provide to their community.
During the last 2 years of their contract with King County, MV Transportation has made $170 million in profits, yet they are not offering their workers meaningful wage increases or any increase to their retirement. Even though MV Teamsters transport the most vulnerable residents who are at high risk from COVID-19, the company is not guaranteeing any essential protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer, gloves or temperature checks.
"The company has to realize that vulnerable people depend on us."
“They do not treat us like we are human or respect what we do,” said Heather McMahon, an instructor at MV who teaches elderly and disabled residents how to navigate public transport system and is a shop steward on the bargaining committee.
In the year of the pandemic, MV has failed their workers on healthcare. Drivers, dispatchers, trainers and schedulers are opting not to visit the doctor rather than pay exorbitant medical fees and co-pays required under MV insurance.
“I cannot afford a car and my credit score has been destroyed,” said Lorelei Berndt, a scheduler at MV who manages several health conditions and has been postponing surgery due to skyrocketing medical costs. “If we get Teamsters medical, I can’t comprehend how much it would change my life for the better, even with the simplest things like buying fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Watch Lorelei talk about her financial struggles due to the high cost of healthcare at MV:
“We need Teamsters medical and we are prepared to fight for our livelihoods and we will walk out if we have to. The company has to realize that vulnerable people depend on us,” said Gino Durante, a driver at MV who has been a Teamster for 12 years.
In 2019, MV Transportation took over the paratransit services contract with King County replacing Transdev, a company that previously held the contract with the county. Soon after, workers at MV organized their group and voted to join Teamsters 117.
Currently, Teamsters 117 represents about 260 drivers, dispatchers, instructors and schedulers working in paratransit with MV Transportation servicing King County.
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