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Keolis loses Vegas transit contract, new strike announced in DC

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The Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission’s transit services contractor, Keolis North America, was recently voted down to continue providing services in Clark County.

First Transit, despite Keolis being the lowest bidder, was selected by Clark County transportation commissioners last week to take over services Keolis has been providing since 2018. A contract with that company still needs to be negotiated.

Southern Nevada’s RTC staff said First Transit ranked highest in most categories.

“Sometimes value and bids are two different things,” RTC Commissioner Isaac Barron said.

Sandy Hill, a Keoliis vice president, said she was disappointed with RTC’s decision.

“To say I’m disappointed is a massive understatement,” she said during public comment at the end of the meeting. “We wish you the best. I hope this isn’t a goodbye and that we’ll see you again soon.”

Second East Coast strike announced

The change in service providers comes as two strikes are now being held against the company on the East Coast.

A strike in Loudoun County, Virginia, has been ongoing since Jan. 11. Workers there are complaining about the same issues with Keolis that bus workers in the Reno area complained about during three strikes against the company in 2021.

The offer presented by Keolis to Teamsters in Loudoun County last month was called “insulting and shameful.” 

A new and different strike was also authorized by Teamsters in the DC-metro area Monday morning. 

“Keolis is a $6 billion global corporation that refuses to bargain a contract in good faith with its workers,” said Local 639 Business Agent John Estes. “The Teamsters even went so far as to support Keolis obtaining more funding from the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

“But the company has failed to come to its senses. Management needs to start bargaining fairly, as required by federal law.”

But the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission pushed back on the union’s strike notice. The Potomac Local news website quoted the commission’s head chastising the union, saying Keolis is prepared to bring more money to the table in negotiations.

“We are disappointed by the local union’s decision to walk away from the table and disrupt our passengers,” said PRTC Board Chair Victor Angry. “We encourage Keolis and the union to meet and resolve these issues. Until then we will work to operate as much service as possible. We genuinely appreciate our front-line workforce and value their connection to the community.”

Local Teamsters previously told This Is Reno they would picket in Reno to support the East Coast workers if called upon, but that never happened. 

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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