Metro Transit workers union rejects contract offer, authorizes strike 'if necessary'

Metro Transit's employee union rejected its employer's contract proposal offer, calling it "crappy" and authorizing a strike if necessary.  (Metro Transit)

A union representing Metro Transit workers has rejected an offer from Metro Transit and authorized a strike if necessary, the union said Wednesday.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, which represents more than 2,350 workers, voted to reject the offer with 95 percent after two days of voting. In a statement, Metro Council, which runs Metro Transit, said the offer was “reasonable and responsible” and balanced the “unprecedented fiscal pressures facing Metro Transit.”

Union President Ryan Timlin called Metro Transit’s offer a slap in the face, saying, “They put a crappy offer on the table and walked away.”

Metro Council said the contract proposal is for $3.6 million and would run through July 2021. It includes, among other things, a one-time payment of $1,500 to each member, a 2.5 percent average wage increase over the next year, “flexible COVID leave benefits,” and other COVID-19-related safety measures.

“We are committed to providing a contract proposal that is both fair and responsible,” said Metro Council in the statement.

ATU International President John Costa said the vote sends a “loud and clear message” to Metro Transit. “It’s time to come to the table and give our members the fair and just contract that they deserve.”

The union also claimed credit for helping Metro Transit secure $214 million in CARES Act funding after the pandemic.