Metro Transit Workers Could Strike During Super Bowl Festivities

November 13, 2017 04:45 PM

Nearly 2,500 Metro Transit workers say they're ready to strike for the full 10 days of Super Bowl Festivities.

ATU Local 1005, which represents transit workers, is set to vote on a contract starting on Sunday, but they say the plan on the table isn't fair. The last strike was in 2004 and it lasted 6 weeks.

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ATU Local 1005 President Mark Lawson stresses that strikes are not all about money. 

"We are very serious," Lawson said.

Even riders are preparing for the worst. 

"We've planned that at work and there's a possibility we may work from home during that period of time," Metro Transit rider Carol Wedding said.

Lawson said  he's been trying to negotiate a new contract since May.

"We feel that it's been going very slow," Lawson said. 

Lawson says they've been given a final offer from Metro Transit, but he does not approve of the offer.

"We have issues that need to be taken care of," Lawson said. 

Lawson said major issues include expanding hours for part-time works and driver safety and security.

"Driving a city bus is one of the hardest jobs in America," Lawson said. "We have members routinely who are punched, spit on, or assaulted in other ways."

Lawson wants to see doors installed in the front of buses to protect the drivers.

"We want to be safe on the job, we want to be secure and not have to worry about being assaulted," Lawson said. 

If no deal is reached, the strike wouldn't happen right away. Instead Lawson says it would happen during the 10 days of the Super Bowl festivities.

"That's going to cause a big mess," Wedding said. 

"We don't want to see a labor disruption during the Super Bowl," Lawson said.  "And right now there's time if Metro Transit management would like to sit down with us and get serious."

Riders including Wedding are hopeful their routines won't be interrupted. 

"It's extremely important for them to come to an agreement because of all of the people that really rely on the transportation," Wedding said. 

The MET Council said in a statement, "We value the work of ATU members and their contribution to our region. We are currently negotiating in good faith through a mediator and are confident we'll reach an agreement satisfactory to both parties."

That union vote is set for Sunday and is expected to continue into Monday.
 

Credits

Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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