ATU Local 689 is comprised of more than 13,000 members and retirees performing occupations within the many skilled transportation crafts for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), MetroAccess, Fairfax Connector, DASH, Loudoun County Transit, Martz Gold Line, Dillons Coach USA, Battle’s Transportation, DC Circulator, DC Streetcar, and more.
Local 689 was established on January 19, 1916 and is a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (AFL-CIO/CLC), the largest labor organization representing transit workers in the United States and Canada.
“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, government relief for the destitute and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome. When in the thirties the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Speech to the state convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Oct. 7, 1965
What Is a Union?
A union is workers who come together, using collective strength to have a voice in their workplace. Through a union, workers have a right to impact wages, work hours, benefits, workplace health and safety, job training and other work-related issues. Under U.S. law, workers of all ages have the right to join a union.
Why You Need a Union
As a worker, you are one of many and without speaking in one voice, you do not have much influence. Unless workers are organized, management is free to exploit workers. Union members also earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t represented by a union. On average, union workers’ wages are 30 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 14 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 68 percent of union workers do. More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.
Functions of a Union
Negotiate, hours, wages and work related activities with employer
Representation and protection
Benefit the community with family-sustaining employment that makes communities stronger
Professional development opportunities
What Is a Union Contract?
A Union contract is a legally binding document where these agreements are put in writing. Having a Union gives you a stronger voice in working with management to make the company stronger, more prosperous, and better place to work.