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Teamsters Local 533 KEOLIS-19 CURRENT STRIKE War Room

Teamsters 533 Hot August Strike & Striketober 2021 ARCHIVE

Teamsters Local 533 KEOLIS-19 War Room Archive Jan. 2020 thru July 2021

Covid Containment



Update 8-3-2021

Back to current Teamsters 533 War Room

Hot August Strike!

August 3, 2021
Media Contact
Debbie Calkins
Gary Watson 775-348-6060 Ext 101
News From
Teamsters Local533
1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100
Reno, Nevada 89512
Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Reno, Nev. — After more than a year of unresolved unfair (illegal) labor practice charges, bad faith bargaining, contract violations and refusal to arbitrate disputes, Regional Transportation Commission Washoe bus system employees and Teamsters Local 533 members have begun striking to hold RTC’s for-profit operator, Keolis Corporation, accountable for their employee mistreatment.
“We’ve spent over a year encouraging the contractor for RTC bus system, Keolis Corporation, to act as a fair employer and community investor, without success,” said Teamsters Local 533 President Gary Watson. “Keolis answers to no one. We encourage the community to stand with us in holding them accountable and join the protest against these unfair and unreliable conditions.”
“At the latest bargaining session last week, Keolis made a proposal to eliminate Teamsters Health insurance with 60 days’ notice. We told Keolis the proposal is a poison pill and violates the Health and Welfare Trust Agreement. Keolis refuses to withdraw this language.”
The employees and Teamsters Local 533 members will conduct a picket line strike, protesting a litany of unfair (illegal) labor practices that are crippling the RTC bus system. A strike sanction for Teamsters 533 was passed unanimously by Teamsters Joint Council 7 and the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council last month.
Keolis Corporation also put RTC employees and Teamsters Local 533 members in direct danger by refusing to implement local, state, and federal mask and social distancing COVID-19 requirements and ordering drivers not to enforce these measures under threat of firing. After violating these safety measures, they also refused to give the union information on the dozens of employees who contracted COVID-19, at least two of whom were admitted to intensive care. KeolisCorporation also employed fewer drivers, cut overtime and ignored safety measures to enhance their profits. This disgraceful mismanagement has left riders stranded, confused, and upset. As a result, drivers bear the brunt of Keolis’ failures, facing harassment and abuse from angry passengers.
Last year, the Keolis Corporation received over $15 million in government support from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, despite the public transit system already receiving 90 percent of its funding with state and federal taxes—dollars that have empowered Keolis to abuse and neglect its workforce. The RTC is also expected to receive $19 million allocated in the American Rescue Plan, though it is not yet clear if those funds have been received.
“The coach operators, technicians, road supervisors, utility workers and dispatchers who risked their lives during the pandemic deserve better and cannot take the mismanagement by Keolis any longer,” Watson said. “They are not to blame for Keolis Corporation’s failures, and we will not tolerate Keolis’s do-nothing approach any longer.”
Teamsters Local 533 On Strike Against RTCWashoe Bus Contractor Keolis Transit

Results of the first day of long-delayed contract negotiation—




BAD NEWS: First RTCRide employee diagnosed with deadly Delta variant
"Confidential" Keolis-19 memo to all workers — except their union
7-29-2021 (.pdf)

The sporting Keolis negotiation style: Russian Roulette
Barbwire by Barbano / Sparks Tribune 7-28-2021

Union files major new federal charges vs. Keolis-19

Media: Teamsters 533 President Gary Watson will try to return phone calls as promptly as possible. (775) 348-6060 ext. 104

Nevada State AFL-CIO: Solidarity & Support
By Rusty McAllister / 7-26-2021

Pertinent contract negotiation documents

Gary Watson on General Strike Radio
Reno KWNK 97.7-fm / 33 minutes / 7-20-2021
Gary Watson comments begin about 11:18 into the recording

Not hiring enough drivers? Blame the drivers, of course.
Enriching a foreign corporation at taxpayer expense
Bus boss pay raise not granted
RTC Meeting 7-23-2021

Union leaders: Foreign contractor endangers bus riders, workers and community
By Mike Pilcher and Gary Watson 7-16-2021 / Reno Gazette-Journal 7-18-2021




A textbook example of someone who eats what corporate media has been spoonfed.
Please tell people to monitor this site for the awful truth — guts, feathers and all.


Lies, loves, loss, laughs & other L-words
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from Sparks Tribune 7-28-2021

Losers, winners, saint, sinners & Yogi
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from Sparks Tribune 7-21-2021

Bus drivers' union opposes rewarding RTC boss for abuses
Enriching a foreign corporation at taxpayer expense
"Show up. Stand up. Speak up before Friday vote."
UPDATE: Two dozen union members, along with Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus showed up to speak. The board pulled the Thomas pay raise off the agenda for consideration at a later date. See you there. Great job!
Updated 7-15, 7-16, 7-17, 7-22 & 7-23-2021 GMT
View video of the meeting

Czar Donaldov infects Reno-Sparks bus system
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from 7-14-2021 Sparks Tribune

19 buses sit idle on record 104-degree day / 16 routes affected
Teamsters Union president blocked from seeing members


Union busters bust bus system
Reno-Sparks-Washoe transit drivers vote to strike
Teamsters Union sues for unpaid health insurance premiums

Regional Union Council Passes Strike Sanction
Bus contractor sued for unpaid health insurance premiums

Legal confrontations continue between Teamsters & bus contractor

Union contract expiration looms
By Jeri Chadwell / 6-8-2021

MILKING PROFITS: Teamsters protest Washoe RTC bus contractor
By Bob Conrad / + Video 5-21-2021

KTVN TV-2 trucks with The Terminator

Nominations open for the Doofus Awards
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno /
Expanded from the Wednesday 5-26-2021 Sparks Tribune

MILK RUN before bus bosses Friday morning
Millions for profit & strikebreakers but no mercy for nursing mothers
This morning brings the Battle of Milk Run to the streets of Reno.

21 May 2021

Click here to read the whole sadly soggy story...

This meme material is blowing in the wind on 9th Street right now — all 12 feet of it. Feel free to print out this version. Suggestions below.
Use as a bookmark, bumper sticker or Internet meme. Potential caption hereinbelow —>


RENO, NV (Friday, 5-21-2021) — A lactation brigade will greet public officials at Friday morning's 9:00 meeting of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. All are welcome. [Read the whole sadly soggy story...]

Hot August Strike: Déjà vu all over again
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno /
Expanded from the Wednesday 5-19-2021 Sparks Tribune

The Terminator sez he'll be back
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno /
Expanded from the Wednesday 5-12-2021 Sparks Tribune

Getting paid to choke in the clutch
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno /
Expanded from the Wednesday 4-21-2021 Sparks Tribune

Officials risk first bus strike in almost 20 years

Viva huelga! Strike a blow for Nevada workers
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 3-24-2021 Sparks Tribune

Remember St. Patrick for slaves, not snakes
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 3-17-2021 Sparks Tribune

The Piano Players at the Cat House
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 3-10-2021 Sparks Tribune

Superspreading for pun and prophet
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 3-3-2021 Sparks Tribune

Union arbitration with superspreader bus system collapses, manager fired
By Bob Conrad / 2-25-2021

SUPERBOWL SUPERSPREADER: COVID-19 as a religious experience

Skipping the line: The politically powerful get vaccinated first
List includes Regional Transportation Commissioner Oscar Delgado
By Jason Hidalgo / Reno Gazette-Journal main front page story Sunday 2-7-2021

Lives are on the line — the bus line
BUS CRASH: Washoe transit system managers and foreign-owned contractor contradict each other,
then lie to media about CDC virus safety compliance
Updated on 5-28-2021 GMT
KTVN TV-2 trucks with The Terminator

RTC: "We are world-class virus smiters" Teamsters: "And world-renowned liars"
By Kristen Hackbarth / This Is Reno 2-3-2021

Maskerape: Get COVID-19 & vax on one bus ride
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 2-3-2021 Sparks Tribune

Bus drivers lay to rest one of their own, call on RTC to enforce COVID-19 protections
By Astrid Mendez / KTNV TV-13 (ABC-Las Vegas) 1-22-2021

Funeral today for 2nd Nevada bus driver felled by COVID-19

Capitol punishment and bus station blues
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 1-20-2021 Sparks Tribune

Gary Watson interview on Adam Arrington's General Strike radio show
KWNK 97.7-fm / 13 Jan. 2021

Suicide for citizens but not political careers
Lives are on the line —> The bus line
/ Expanded from the 12-30-2020 Sparks Tribune

MAYDAY! Drivers plead with elected officials for help

Transitions and decisions in a darkening winter
Superspreader meeting Dec. 18
Expanded from the 12-16-2020 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-18-2020 GMT

A golden goose for the morally obtuse
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 12-9-2020 Sparks Tribune

Bus boss oblivious: Neoma Jardon in denial

B-words Part Deux — Keolis boss tries to baffle TV-4 with bull...durham
By Miles Buergin / KRNV TV-4 / KRXI TV-11 / 12-7-2020

Obtuse Bus Boss' brain fade bungles boast of transit system's COVID-19 safety
By Jeri Davis / This Is Reno 12-3-2020

American Monster M*A*S*H: Suicide is painless
Almost two-dozen mass transit drivers are now infected with COVID-19.
Barbwire by
/ Expanded from the 11-18-2020 Sparks Tribune

Feds bust transit system for breaking the law, abusing workers
This Is Reno / 11-18-2020

National Labor Relations Board order (.pdf)

Suede-shoe salesmen sucker city hall
Barbwire by
/ Expanded from the 10-21-2020 Sparks Tribune



Our Toothless Mask Mandates
By Dr. Elizabeth Rosenthal / The New York Times op-ed 10-1-2020

A former big city ER physician, Dr. Rosenthal is an ex-NYT journalist who is now editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News. Her 2017 book "An American Sickness: How health care became big business and how you can take it back" is still the single best encapsulation of how to fix the broken US system. (For a film on some of its best suggestions, get Michael Moore's 2007 "Sicko.") Dr. Rosenthal's latest Times piece notes that law enforcement officials refusing to enforce gubernatorial mandates in Ohio and Wisconsin are creating "a new level of lawlessness." Ditto Nevada. Two of our Cow County sheriffs have announced the same thing, as has our Reno-Sparks-Washoe turkey. Ditto the Reno Police Dept. "Not our job." And our infection rate increases accordingly. What a country.




     KEOLIS-19 BREAKING NEWS —> (Reno, NV, 3:27 p.m. PDT, 18 Sept. 2020) —

IBT 533 Trade Unionists: Monitor KOLO TV-8 (ABC) from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. PDT today. (And 10:00 p.m. on CW Network over-the-air at 8.3 / Charter-Spectrum 695, Direct TV 9)

Ed Pearce
, the most experienced and credible TV journalist in northern Nevada for the past 50 years, interviewed union RTC drivers earlier today. The story should run today but there's always a disaster that can pre-empt. Yesterday, Mr. Pearce got diverted to the narrowly-averted NVEnergy cutoff of Incline Village electricity. TV2 ran the story of Local 533 vs. the transit system four times on Wednesday and probably again on their early morning Thursday newscasts.

I am informed that Regional Transportation Commission Executional Director Bill Thomas spoke before the four obtuse elected commissioners this morning and noted that RTC is doing all it can to enforce safety requirements.

Ahh, another bright shining lie.

Monitor for ongoing updates. New things in the works soon. Keep us posted on what's happening with you. We especially need photos of packed buses with many maskless riders.

Be well. Raise hell. Stay safe.

     KEOLIS-19 BREAKING NEWS —> (Reno, NV, 4:36 p.m. PDT, 16 Sept. 2020) — Washoe County bus system management told KTVN TV-2 (CBS) News that they will not use their standing security force to enforce the governor's mask mandate but instead rely on local police. As noted on this site for months, both the Washoe County Sheriff and Reno Police Department have served notice that they will not enforce the safety of the bus system. TV-2 journalist Valentina Bonaparte reported that this diverges from southern Nevada, where officials told her that they use their security infrastructure to enforce COVID-19 mitigation procedures. Ride at your own risk in Reno-Sparks.

     An expanded version aired at 5:36 p.m., again at 6:34 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. PDT. You may visit TV-2's website or monitor for additional broadcasts tonight and well into Thursday morning news programs. Be sure to stay tuned to for more. Be well. Raise hell.

September 14, 2020

GARY WATSON, President
Teamsters Union Local 533
(775) 348-6060 ext. 104

Union drivers test positive for virus
Management refuses governor's mask mandate
Charges also filed with federal regulatory agencies

RENO, Nev. — The Teamsters Union has filed for injunctive relief and fast-track arbitration to compel the Washoe County Regional Transportation bus system to enforce Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak's (D) mask mandate.

"This is an extreme measure because this is an extreme emergency and no one has responded all year," stated Teamsters Local 533 President Gary Watson.

The legal action was brought before the federal court system in Reno last Friday, Sept. 11.

"Our patience evaporated when we learned that a passenger was refused boarding because his pants were down but maskless passengers were allowed on the bus," Watson said.

"An epidemic of barefaced passengers rides every day, some on dangerously overcrowded buses. One rider even spit at a driver. Bus system management has tried to have it both ways, posting signs that masks are ineffective and others stating masks are mandatory, all the while threatening drivers with firing if they try to enforce the governor's legal order," Watson added.

"Hardworking Teamsters are both stressed by the dangerous conditions and distressed by their employer's reckless disregard for safety. The same goes for many passengers who have said so to our drivers," he asserted.

"The federal lawsuit states that the transit system's foreign-owned management corporation is contractually and legally bound to enforce basic safety practices," Watson noted.

"Instead, the overseas for-profit jobber has perverted the Americans With Disabilities Act in order to proceed under the fictitious and feckless assumption that everyone without a mask is somehow disabled and can't wear one," the longtime union leader stated.

"This is not Russia," Watson declared.

"Newly-hired Regional Transportation Commission Executive Director Bill Thomas
has appeared on paid advertising asserting that the governor's mandate is being enforced. But his managers are telling our drivers that anyone without a mask must be allowed to board or they risk disciplinary action," Watson noted.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) is comprised of Washoe County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung (R) and Bob Lucey (R) and Reno City Councilmembers Neoma Jardon (R) and Oscar Delgado (D). The City of Sparks seat is now filled by Councillor Kristopher Dahir (R). His predecessor,
Sparks Mayor Ron Smith's (R) passing was announced on August 19. Requiescat in pace.

UPDATE: Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson replaced Mr. Dahir on Dec. 18, 2020.

For decades, RTC has subcontracted management of the transit system to non-Nevada, for-profit contractors. The current RTC Ride system contractor is Keolis Transit America, a subsidiary of a for-profit French multi-national.

"Between March 12, 2020 and June 25, 2020, Governor Sisolak issued twenty-three directives pursuant to the March 12 Declaration of Emergency to provide for the safety, well-being and public health of Nevadans to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus," the union case states.

Local governments have been granted power to enact regulations stronger than the governor's order. (Declaration of Emergency Directive 024, Section 2, June 4, 2020)
Section 9 of the Governor's Directive grants authority to local law enforcement to police compliance and gives the Nevada attorney general concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute.

Instead, local, state and federal agencies have done nothing.

The bus system already employs security staff but they do not enforce the mask mandate. As a start, those officers could be empowered by local governments as an enforcement structure.

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam (R), Reno-Sparks-Washoe's chief law enforcement officer, has announced that he and his deputies will not enforce Sisolak's mask mandate. (Reno Gazette-Journal front page, June 27, 2020)

Keolis Transit has been intransigent and sees no emergency, despite packed buses, and doesn't even want to discuss the issues until next year.

"On August 19, 2020, the parties chose a neutral arbitrator, Arbitrator James Merrill, to hear the case and issue a final and binding decision," the union court filing notes.

"On September 9, 2020, the parties set a hearing date with Arbitrator Merrill and Keolis for January 21, 2021. On September 9 and September 10, 2020, the Union demanded that Keolis accept Arbitrator Merrill’s offer to hear the matter by video conference on September 28, 29 or October 6, 8, 2020, Keolis refuses to accept these earlier dates. Keolis also continues to refuse to require passengers to wear masks pending the outcome of the arbitration."

Because the bus system continues to ignore the virus spread and dangerous conditions, Watson is asking passengers to use their phones to take time-dated photos of fellow riders without masks and e-mail them to him at <>

The union has also filed numerous charges with the combined state/federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Labor Relations Board.

The Nevada Division of Industrial Relations has levied fines on a few small and large businesses, none near the maximum.

"The top fine is $135,000 and all OSHA has to do is show up, put on a mask and take a bus ride," Watson said.

"Show me a local bar that serves 20,000 people a day." Local saloons are re-opening this week.

See for the full court filing, RTC commissioners' contact information, links, references, photos and complete background on these issues (scroll down this page) plus Teamsters/RTC history including the 2002 Hot August Strike.

Chartered in 1934, Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,000 workers in various trades throughout northern Nevada and eastern California.
CASE NUMBER: U.S. District Court/Nevada, Case No. 3:20-CV-517
The documents were e-mailed to Keolis attorneys in Florida on Sept. 11, 2020, immediately after they were filed at the Bruce Thompson Federal Courthouse in Reno.


South Lake Tahoe: $100 and $500 fines for lack of masks
Reno-Sparks-Washoe transit system: We don't care, we don't have to. Let's go to lunch.
Tahoe Daily Tribune / 8-19-2020

Lemmings, ostriches & dirty-talking desert rats
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 8-19-2020 Sparks Tribune

They say what I never said. Read the column, below. Please note their announcement above in green that once again lies about face masks being required. AB

Andrew Barbano: Enemy of the state
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 8-12-2020 Sparks Tribune

Dear Guv: Put your foot where your mouth is