Metro Transit employees vote to authorize strike
Metro Transit workers voted to authorize a strike by an overwhelming margin Monday as they continue to negotiate a new contract.
Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 — which represents bus drivers, rail operators, mechanics and other Metro Transit employees — cast their votes on Sunday and Monday; 94% favored a strike.
Union members could begin picketing 10 days after filing a strike notice with their employer.
ATU Local 1005 says it is pushing for a cost-of-living adjustment in its new contract and that negotiations have been ongoing since March. The union’s most recent contract expired at the end of July.
Ryan Timlin, president of the ATU 1005, says the raise isn’t just for paychecks – it’s also to create competitive wages to attract more hires, and adds Metro Transit is down about 400 operators, compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.
Timlin also says several rail inspectors are expected to retire soon, and there are concerns wages aren’t competitive enough to hire on enough new people.
“If they really want to get down to some of the issues here, it’s not just that department. If you go to some of these maintenance facilities, they’re down to extremely skeleton crews,” said Timlin.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to the Metropolitan Council for comment and was provided the following statement:
“We are not anticipating any immediate service impacts at this time. Our employees are integral to serving those who rely on transit, and we look forward to reaching an agreement.”Met Council
The union currently has two negotiation sessions scheduled, with the next one being Sept. 22.