Next to food trucks, one of the fastest growing trends in cities across the country is bike sharing, with racks of bicycles for rent by the hour or longer positioned around town for easy pick up and drop off. But it takes dozens and sometimes hundreds of workers to make bike-sharing operations run smoothly. On Tuesday, the more than 200 workers in New York City’s Citi Bike program chose the Transport Workers (TWU) to help make their jobs run more smoothly, too.
The bicycle mechanics, dispatchers, call center operators and technicians began their organizing drive for better wages, regular schedules and a voice on the job with TWU Local 100. The support throughout the workforce was so strong, Citi Bike voluntarily recognized their choice of Local 100 as the workers’ representative.
The union represents bus and subway workers in the city, and Local 100 President John Samuelsen said:
We view bike sharing as another important mode of public transit. We fully intend to throw our energy and political support behind expanding these bike-sharing systems and ensuring they are designed in a way to support existing transportation networks.
He also said that contract bargaining will focus on “advancing the livelihoods of bike share workers” and added that bike share workers in several other cities are seeking union representation.
The New York victory, said Citi Bike worker Dolly Winter, “feels great, very empowering.”
In related news, last week the 550 call takers and reservation agents at Global Contact Services in Queens, N.Y., who schedule paratransit services for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, voted to join Local 100. Read more here.