Workers Deliver 1500 Petition Signatures to Capital Bikeshare
On Wednesday morning, past and present Capital Bikeshare workers joined with community supporters to deliver their petition to Capital Bikeshare management to demand that Bikeshare’s parent company, Alta, pay more than $100,000 in owed to them in back wages and benefits required under the Service Contract Act by no later than July 3. Their actions received coverage in the Washington Post, Fox 5 News, WPFW 89.3’s Morning Brew and several other medial outlets.
The petition, launched on Coworker.org in late May, has gathered more than 1,500 signatures. Twenty-three past and present workers signed onto the petition and an accompanying letter to Alta president Mia Birk alleging that while they worked for Capital Bikeshare, they were not paid the prevailing wage rates or benefits as required by Alta’s contract with the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Service Contract Act.
“We actually didn’t know about the contracts until recently,” said Anibal Apunte, former Capital Bikeshare worker, in the interview with Fox 5. “We were always told it was up to the Portland office to give us better pay and provide us with the benefits. That’s why we started our petition and our struggle.”
When Capital Bikeshare director Eric Gilliland emerged from the Bikeshare warehouse in southwest DC, he encountered a group of Bikeshare workers accompanied by community supporters from the EJC, DC Jobs with Justice, unions, and OUR DC. The workers presented Mr. Gilliland with the petition and asked for him to take action.
“We know you have the power to do the right thing,” said John Farmer, a current Bikeshare employee.
“We’ll make it right,” Gilliland replied.
Following a press conference, the Bikeshare workers also delivered their petition to the DC Department of Transportation. DDOT has had a contract with Alta since 2010, and it remains unclear as to whether DDOT was aware that Alta was not complying with wage and benefit requirements in the contract, and why they did not take action.
“It’s inspiring to join these workers as they stand up for their rights and demand that their government take action to ensure Alta follows the law,” said EJC Deputy Director Ari Weisbard. “EJC is working to pass stronger laws to combat wage theft, so that workers are paid properly from the start, instead of having to engage in months of protest to get what they are owed.” Weisbard discussed the issue in more depth on along with bikeshare worker Douglas Jones and Coworker.org founder Jess Kutch on WPFW Pacifica Radio’s Morning Brew this morning.
Want to support the Capital Bikeshare workers? Sign their petition to Alta president Mia Birk, demanding that Alta pay workers their back wages and come into compliance with the Service Contract Act by July 3.