The Question of Privatization

The Question of Privatization


DC
I would say, I love this city. I remember going to places to eat with my dad,
or he would go and get his hair cut every week and we would go and hang out. And there is nothing that makes me more proud
to be an American, to share all this culture. This city is a model of what America could
be, what it should be. It isn’t yet, but this is close to perfection,
i think. We got Metro, which is public. We have MetroAccess, which is privatized. We have DC Circulator, which is privatized. We have DCStreetcar, which is privatized as
well. When we talk about what it really means to
have private organizations running public transit, what we’re talking about is it’s
cheaper because you’re cutting the cost for your employees, their benefits and you’re
using part time workers to come in and out at a lower wage. “Remember hearing about the bus stuck on the
Key Bridge last month? That was me, stuck for about four hours blocking
traffic because of poor maintenance and management. These contractors, First Transit, Keolis,
MV, etc. all do the same thing. They underbid the contract to get the job,
then they start syphoning off money from key programs like maintenance, safety, administration. Running the buses and the employees into the
ground to create a profit to send to their corporate headquarters.” “How are we supposed to feel safe when Circulator
Bus Operators tell us that they have doors flying open mid-route? Horns that don’t work? The MV employee benefits handbook instructs
it’s employees where to apply for Medicaid. No one who works full time should be poor
enough for Medicaid. Can i get an amen?” Amen. What we, I think, are challenged by in Washington
is, how do you continue to have a city where the housing is more and more expensive and
that there are people who are working jobs that have to be able to afford some measure
of housing. In my community, in particular recreates cycles
of poverty where you can work and still be poor, and to me that’s the new slavery and
the new jim crow. What these multinational corporations are
doing is a sin, a scandal, and a shame and we’re not gonna let them continue to cast
a web of injustice, economic evil, upon our people. Because we don’t see any division between
transit workers and our members in our community. We’re all in this together. It’s just the right thing to do, for people
to make enough money on their jobs to put groceries in their homes, send their kids
to school, and not have to choose between paying one bill or providing for their child. And we want to see it run by the city, not
run by all these different entities who ultimately don’t have any interest in DC. Their only interest is in making a quick buck. I’m asking the city council to step up, im
asking the different areas of DC government to step up and say enough is enough. “You have an opportunity to make the right
decision on the DC Circulator, whatever you decide you will be the one held accountable
for it and you’ve met today people who will do that. Why invite the waste, fraud, and scandal of
private for profit companies? It’s time for wise investments.”

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