Bianca Cunningham

Bus Drivers Strike Reveals Inequality on Martha’s Vineyard

Twenty-five Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers are striking for a first contract, exposing the inequality that exists for working people on an island known as the summer home of the rich and famous.

The Florida-based company Transit Connection Inc. (TCI) receives public funds to operate the bus system relied on by vacationers and year-round residents alike. So during the strike, taxpayers are literally paying scab wages—contrary to the progressive values often associated with Martha’s Vineyard.

Four smiling women wearing "UFCW Local ON STRIKE" signs stand in front of a Co-op gas station, arms around each other's shoulders

“Three years ago I was at a union meeting and a member stood up and asked why we got such good pay and benefits as Saskatoon Co-op employees,” said Jodi Smith, a member of Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1400.

“Grant Wicks, now the general manager of the co-op, answered that the employees were worth it—they were trained well, customer service was excellent. We all left this meeting with tears in our eyes, feeling appreciated.”

VIDEO: 40 Years of Troublemaking in the Labor Movement

Since 1979, Labor Notes has been home to the troublemaking wing of the labor movement. The pages of our magazine are filled with the stories of workers who are working to transform their unions, to take on the boss, to fight for racial justice.

We believe that working people's best bet is on ourselves. That's why our trainings, and national conference, focus on connecting workers to one another across unions and industries and provide rank-and-file organizers with the tools they need to get the job done themselves.

Strikes and the City

Why are some union leaders saying public sector workers shouldn’t have the right to strike?

We expect it from conservatives like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who told the Post that ending the state’s ban on public sector strikes would “turn New York into Venezuela.”