Photo by Hajira Fuad

Transit workers for the DC Circulator bus system are entering into a prolonged contract negotiation with their employer, according to a press release issued on April 1.

Negotiations between the workers and their employer which began on March 1 were initially set to expire at the end of the month. DC Circulator union members and the private contractor of the DC Circulator bus system agreed to extend negotiations by another 30 days.

“Bus operators that help keep this city moving, are sick and tired of being overworked, underpaid, and disrespected,” Brian Wivell, the political and communications director of the transit union said in a press release published on March 31.

Wages and benefits for DC Circulator workers fall behind those of transit systems in the region, Wivell said in the March 31 press release. According to the press release, the pay gap between Circulator workers and WMATA workers can be as much as $5.38 per hour for senior bus operators.

After a month of bargaining, the private contractor that sets wages and benefits for D.C. Circulator workers offered a 2% raise for senior operators. But with 8% inflation, that raise is equivalent to a 6% pay cut, Wivell said.

On April 5, DC Circulator bus operators voted 96% in favor of authorizing a strike in order to win a fair contract, Wivell said in a press release published on April 6, noting that turnout for the vote was strong and that several Circulator workers drove in on their day off in order to vote.