Arlington, VA

A group of local students is organizing a demonstration in Arlington tomorrow (Friday) as part of a nationwide climate change strike ahead of the UN Climate Change panel.

Teenage organizers of the Northern Virginia effort say they’re organizing a teach-in about environmentalism from 8-11 a.m. at American University, followed by a rally beginning at 11:45 a.m. outside Arlington County government headquarters (2100 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse, to help the planet they’re about to inherit.

“The most important thing is to educate,” said organizer and Yorktown High School student Hannah Knittig. “That goes for government officials and also to the public.”

The students organizers are working with the Northern Virginia chapter of the Youth Climate Strike organization, and is hoping to attract attendees and passersby to the Courthouse rally with speeches, a voter registration table, and posters the local effects of climate change.

“I hope they can see that they can get involved from home where they live,” said another organizer, Cecelia O’Sullivan, 15, at the Potomac School in McLean. “They can see that this is really an accessible moment happening all over the country.”

The teen organizers who spoke to ARLnow cited concerns about global warming raising flood threats and spawning more extreme storms, also noting how activities like fracking pollute the environment and contribute to the problem.

“Our water supply and our excessive need of products in Arlington impacts people who live in Blacksburg and all over Virginia,” said Knitting. “I definitely know that my lifestyle, and my family’s lifestyle, does impact other people.”

“Seeing all these very small occurrences, which at first they don’t link immediately link to climate change. But once you dig deeper, you just see it’s all part of that larger effect of climate change,” said Saahithi Achanta, 17, who is also helping organize the event from Chantilly High School.

Knittig, 16, said that around eighty students from across the Northern Virginia area have signed up to join the Arlington strike, and another 80 students have pledged to attend the same-day sister strike in Richmond.

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Morning Notes

Labor Action Planned at DCA — Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is among those expected to participate in a rally and picket at Reagan National Airport this evening, in support of airline catering workers who are seeking better wages and healthcare options. [Unite Here]

Restaurant Coming to Apartment BuildingUpdate at 9:35 a.m. — Permit applications have been filed for a new restaurant that’s planned for the grounds of the recently-renovated Dominion Apartments at 333 S. Glebe Road. [Twitter]

Green Presidential Hopeful Visits Arlington — “The Arlington Greens recently welcomed one of their party’s presidential aspirants to the community. Dario Hunter, a member of the Youngstown (Ohio) School Board, participated in a roundtable discussion with Green Party members on July 16 at Central Library.” [InsideNova]

Author to Talk Hockey at Local Bookstore — “We’re bringing Sportsnet contributor and YouTube sensation Steve Dangle down to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, August 24, to sign copies of his hit book This Team is Ruining My Life (But I Love Them): How I Became a Professional Hockey Fan… One More Page Books, an independent bookstore in Arlington, Va. (which is run by Caps fans), will be hosting the signing from 2-4 p.m.” [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

Army Flying Secret Missions Over Region — “The Pentagon has revealed a few details about a secret Army mission that has Black Hawk helicopters flying missions over the Washington, D.C., area backed by active-duty and reserve soldiers. The mysterious classified operation was disclosed when the Army asked Congress for approval to shift funds to provide an extra $1.55 million for aircraft maintenance, air crews and travel in support of an ’emerging classified flight mission.'” [Bloomberg, PoPville]

Photo courtesy Clarendon Alliance/Instagram

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Morning Notes

Another Water Main Break in Courthouse — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a 6-inch valve leak at 1315 N Barton St. Traffic is detoured around the work site. At least one high-rise building is affected.” [Twitter]

Business Owners Planning for HQ2 — “Dawson and Bayne said Highline is ‘a happy-hour machine’ during the week, thanks to the office buildings that surround it. But business late at night and on weekends isn’t as steady. The impending arrival of Amazon, however, is causing the business partners to rethink Highline’s concept.” [WTOP]

Break-in at Overlee Pool — “At least seven community pools were the targets of theft or vandalism late Sunday into Monday, according to police and pool managers. The crime spree spanned Fairfax and Arlington counties, yet police have not been able to connect all seven cases to the same set of suspects.” [Fox 5]

Workers Striking at DCAUpdated at 9:25 a.m. — “Several union workers for two major airlines are on strike outside of Reagan National Airport on Thursday. The workers are employed by the Delta contractor Eulen Airport. Roughly six employees protesting tell ABC7 they are not being treated fairly by their contractors and are calling for better working conditions with some claiming they don’t receive lunch breaks.” [WJLA]

Levine Challenger Fails to Qualify for Ballot — “He had an opponent, then he didn’t. And as a result, Del. Mark Levine (D-45th) is home free in the Nov. 5 general election.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Falls Church Mayor on Tax Deduction Changes — “Mayor P. David Tarter testified yesterday before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures about the impact of the cap on the deductibility of state and local tax (SALT) on federal returns… ‘[The SALT deduction cap] means that tax dollars that could have gone to the city are now going to the federal government, and there is less money available for essential local services like schools, police, and fire protection.'” [City of Falls Church]

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Morning Notes

Ribbon Cutting for Revamped Rosslyn Safeway — “Safeway will unveil renovations to its Rosslyn store at 1525 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 am on Friday, July 12.” [Press Release]

More on Real Estate Boom Forecast — “Real estate agents and local economists said inventories are so sparse that some popular Zip codes in Arlington and Alexandria show no homes for sale at all. They added that investors are pouring into the market, looking to turn homes into rental properties.” [Washington Post, InsideNova]

Acosta Signs Books in Clarendon — CNN correspondent Jim Acosta showed up to an sparsely-populated Barnes and Noble store in Clarendon for a “surprise signing” of his book “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America.” [Twitter]

Workers Vote for Strike at DCA — “On June 12, airline food workers who prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served onboard American Airlines flights departing from Reagan National Airport voted 100% to strike when released by the National Mediation Board.” [Press Release]

New Local Store at DCA — “The District of Columbia Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) today celebrated the grand opening of the Made in DC retail pop-up at Reagan National Airport, providing a new national and international presence for local makers and small business owners.” [Press Release]

ARLnow’s Press Release Section — For the next week, we’re experimenting with posting press releases directly on a special section of our site. Let us know what you think. [ARLnow]

Photo by Vernon Miles

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Morning Notes

Ride Hailing ‘Strike’ Today — “Getting an Uber or a Lyft may be impossible — or take longer and cost more — Wednesday when drivers for both companies plan to strike in major U.S. cities to protest what they say are unfair wages and poor working conditions.” [Washington Post]

APS Poaching Fairfax Teachers — From a candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors: “Today I met a veteran teacher who is leaving FCPS because Arlington County will pay her $12,000 more annually. Meanwhile, all I hear about is how we are fully funding our schools. We still have some catching up to do Fairfax County.” [Twitter]

County Employees Getting Reusable StrawsUpdated at 10:10 a.m. —  “This week is [Public Service Recognition Week], and Arlington County employees will be celebrating with their new, reusable steel straws, distributed… as a thank you for their hard work.” [WDVM]

Another Traffic Enforcement Push in Clarendon — Yesterday Arlington County Police conducted “high-visibility traffic enforcement” at Clarendon Boulevard and N. Danville Street,” reminding drivers to “be [street smart] and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.” [Twitter]

No State GOP Candidates in Arlington Yet — “Thus far, there have been no nibbles on the line among potential Republican candidates for state legislative seats. The party’s filing deadlines passed on May 2 and 5 for GOP prospects for the 47th and 49th House of Delegates districts and 31st state Senate district without any candidates formally expressing interest.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

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Morning Notes

Metro Leaders Square Off with Union Over Strike Threat — The transit service is still negotiating with its largest union to avert a strike, though details remain murky. Virginia’s Republican lawmakers in Richmond are urging Gov. Ralph Northam to ask a federal court to intervene to prevent any work stoppage. [Washington Post]

County Board Approves Incentives for DoD Tenant — Arlington officials agreed to spend $8 million over the next decade to keep the Office of Naval Research in a Ballston office building. [InsideNova]

Landscapers Spruce Up Arlington National Cemetery — Roughly 400 landscapers from the National Association of Landscape Professionals for Renewal and Remembrance donated their time to work on the cemetery Monday. [WTOP]

“Evictions in Arlington” Forum Set for Tonight — The county and its Tenant Landlord Commission is hosting a panel discussion the issue at 6:30 p.m. at the Department of Human Services building (2100 Washington Blvd). The conversation will center on “resources and gaps, opportunities and challenges” in preventing evictions. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo via wolfkann

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Morning Notes

Woman Pleads Guilty to Oxycodone Conspiracy — A former medical assistant at doctor’s offices in Arlington and Alexandria has pleaded guilty “for her role in leading a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone,” according to federal prosecutors. “From 2011 through December 2017, [Louise] Edwards stole blank prescription pads and electronically-generated fraudulent prescriptions using a medical recordkeeping system… Edwards facilitated the fraudulent filling of at least 353 prescriptions, totaling 42,360 pills of 30 milligram oxycodone.” [Alexandria News, Patch]

Elected Officials Support Striking Workers — Local elected officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and state Sen. Barbara Favola, are scheduled to meet this morning with Didlake Inc. employees who work at the Army National Guard Readiness Center on S. George Mason Drive. The employees are on strike after the company refused to recognize their vote to join a union.

Thousands Attend RFK Memorial at ANC — Thousands of people attended a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy. Speakers at the memorial included Rep. John Lewis, Parkland school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez, and former President Bill Clinton. Country music star Kenny Chesney played a rendition of “This Land is Your Land.” [Associated Press]

Meeting Space Coming to Rosslyn — “Meeting and event space provider Convene has inked a deal to open a new location high atop the CEB Tower at Central Place in Rosslyn, where it plans to join the building’s namesake tenant as early as October. The New York-based company has signed a 14.5-year sublease for 35,000 square feet from Gartner Inc., CEB’s parent company, at 1201 Wilson Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sun Gazette Endorses de Ferranti — The Arlington Sun Gazette has endorsed Matt de Ferranti in the Democratic Arlington County Board primary, which will be held this coming Tuesday. However, the paper has little good to say about him, instead opining that he and fellow candidate Chanda Choun lack “deep roots in the community and, we fear, each has yet to develop an ingrained grasp of local issues to provide a viable challenge to the very plugged-in incumbent [John Vihstadt].” [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Photo via @ArlingtonVaFD

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Groundkeepers on strike outside of Arlington National Cemetery in July 2016For the second time in a month, contract groundskeepers at Arlington National Cemetery have gone on strike.

The Laborers’ International Union says 30 of its members are striking to protest delays in negotiating a new contract, and for firings and discipline related to an ongoing labor dispute with Davey Tree and Greenleaf Services, which provide contract services to the cemetery.

Two Arlington County Board members joined the LiUNA’s first strike at the cemetery, in July.

From a press release:

In the second strike in as many months, Arlington National Cemetery grounds-keepers walked off the job today to protest extensive delays by their employers in negotiating a contract and the firing and discipline of workers who refused overtime.

The 30 members of Local 572 of the Laborers’ International Union have been seeking a contract for nine months with their joint employers, Davey Tree Expert Co. and Greenleaf Services.

The workers are asking for modest wage increases and paid sick leave. On August 1, workers engaged in concerted action, refusing to work overtime to protest perceived favoritism in the assignment of hours. The workers complain that only anti-union employees get steady hours throughout the work season, while the pro-union employees see their hours rise and fall depending on whether the employers needs them. The employers placed derogatory write-ups in the files of 15 workers and fired one, even though their action is protected under federal labor law.

“Arlington National Cemetery is a symbol of our nation’s strength and determination to stand for what is right,” said Larry Doggett, Business Manager of Local 572 and U.S. Marine Corps veteran himself. “It is shameful that the workers who care for the grounds are being treated with disregard for their fundamental rights and freedoms and subject to illegal actions for joining together.”

In addition to a contract, the workers are now seeking reinstatement of the fired employee and repeal of disciplinary action against the others.

The workers have won the support of Arlington County Board members, who joined them on their picket line when they struck on July 19.

Since May 2015, when the workers voted to join the union, they have been seeking to negotiate a boost to their average $13 an hour wage and for paid sick leave, but bargaining sessions have been repeatedly delayed or cancelled.

Davey Tree Co., based in Ohio, touts itself as the largest tree care company with 2014 revenues of $790 million.

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Arlington County Board members Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol joined more than 25 contract groundkeepers in their strike this morning outside of Arlington National Cemetery.

The strike by the members of Local 572 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) began today at 7 a.m. It comes after eight months of delays in reaching a new contract. The walkout is believed to be the first strike by workers at the cemetery, says LiUNA.

“This is about workers and their ability to provide for their families and their ability to live,” said Dorsey. “You really can’t do so if your wages don’t keep up with the cost of living.”

Cristol said she was at the strike to support “dignity and fair practices,” adding that the high cost of housing locally makes it hard to raise a family on the wages the groundskeepers are being paid.

The workers, who are jointly employed by Davey Tree Expert Co. and Greenleaf Services Inc., are looking for sick leave time and a pay raise of 4 percent from their current approximately $13 per hour rate.

“I don’t think our ask is that dramatic at all,” said LiUNA assistant organizing director Keon Shim. “We’ve negotiated on things that are non economic and when it came to economics, the company basically said no to everything that we proposed so far.”

“When you think about the incredibly enormous job and the important job of beautifying our cemetery, making it a sacred place and also making it hospitable for visitors, we shouldn’t take the low road with those employees who make that happen,” said Dorsey.

There will be negotiations tomorrow between the workers and the companies, according to the union. If the company is not willing to sign a new contract for workers, union representatives said, the strike will continue.

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Flags in at Arlington National Cemetery (Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money)As Memorial Day approaches, the contract groundkeepers who help to maintain the hallowed ground at Arlington National Cemetery are preparing for a possible strike.

The workers have faced eight months of delay in seeking a new contract with “modest” pay increases and a paid sick leave option, according to their union, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA). The workers are employed by Davey Tree Expert Co. and Greenleaf Services Inc., which have contracts with the cemetery, LiUNA says.

The union issued the following press release this afternoon.

The men and women who care for the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery may strike the cemetery’s grounds-keeping contractor, following nearly eight months of delay in reaching a new contract agreement.

The 45 workers, members of Local 572 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, are seeking three annual pay increases and the introduction of paid sick leave. The workers are jointly employed by Davey Tree Expert Co. and Greenleaf Services Inc.

“Members of our military have risked their lives to defend the rights and freedoms of our Constitution, including the freedom to join together in a union for common interests,” said Larry Doggette, Business Manager of Local 572 and a veteran of the U.S. Marines. “It is disgraceful that these fundamental rights and freedoms would be denied at our nation’s military cemetery during a holiday in honor of those have lost their lives in defense of freedom.”

In May 2015, the workers voted in favor of joining together in the union to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. The workers are seeking a boost from their approximately $13 per hour pay rate. They are also seeking sick leave; currently workers have no paid sick leave.

The union and the companies reached an agreement this year on most non-economic issues, and workers presented their pay and sick leave proposal in October 2015. The employers had promised a response, but repeatedly delayed and cancelled the last negotiating session scheduled for this month.

Under a recent executive order by President Obama, up to seven days of sick leave will be required by federal contractors in 2017. However, rather than enshrining the sick leave in a contract, the employers proposed that sick leave be consistent with the order.

“It may be that they are running out the clock, hoping for new president who might rescind the executive order,” Doggette said. “But workers voted for a union, they want a contract and their rights to one should be respected.” Doggette added, “We believe we could easily reach an agreement if the employers would negotiate.” Doggette said that any strike would likely begin before the Memorial Day holiday, and absent an agreement, continue through it.

LIUNA’s Mid-Atlantic Region includes more than 40,000 workers predominantly in the construction industry in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon

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Morning Notes

Herselle Milliken Park in Ashton Heights

Big Tree Down on Washington Blvd — A large tree fell across power lines on Washington Blvd just south of Virginia Hospital Center during Saturday night and Sunday morning’s windstorm. Washington Blvd was closed between George Mason Drive and N. Harrison Street for much of the day Sunday while Dominion crews repaired the lines. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photos: DCA Airport Strike — DCist has photos from last week’s 24 hour strike of contract service workers at Reagan National Airport. [DCist]

Arlington Signs on to Amicus Brief — Arlington was among more than 50 counties and cities that signed on to an amicus brief in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants. [Columbia Law School, Twitter]

Capital Improvement Plan Survey — Through April 22, Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents that will help guide decision-making during the upcoming Capital Improvement Plan process. The CIP helps to plan “major investments in parks, libraries, transportation, community centers, facilities, technology, water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure — along with other areas that support the community.” [Arlington County]

‘The Burbs Are Back’ in Office Leasing — Arlington and other suburban D.C. jurisdictions are showing a bit of strength in the office leasing market. “The suburbs accounted for 69.5 percent of Washington region’s leasing activity in the first quarter, up substantially from a 52.9 percent share in 2015, according to JLL’s quarterly market reports.” [Virginia Business]

TSA Move Delayed Until 2020 — The Transportation Security Administration will be staying put at its Pentagon City headquarters until at least 2020. The TSA had planned to move to Alexandria by 2018, but legal wrangling has delayed the move and forced the TSA to redo its leasing process. [Washington Business Journal]

PSA: Don’t Do This — Spotted in Clarendon: a young woman urinating while sitting on a bench along a busy street, at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. [Twitter]

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