Nine months after their last contract expired, members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, which represents Metro Transit drivers, mechanics and other staff, have voted to approve a two-year agreement with the Metropolitan Council. The contract was approved by a 78 to 22 percent margin, the union announced Monday.
The pact covers about 2,300 employees of Metro Transit, which is operated by the Met Council. Local 1005 members voted Sunday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul.
Michelle Sommers, president of ATU Local 1005, said the approved contract reflects a trade off: members agreed to a two-year wage freeze in exchange for seeing no changes to their health insurance plans.
“It’s not a great offer, but we needed to keep health care the same,” Sommers said. “That’s a big issue to us.”
Sommers said the local’s executive board recommended members vote to ratify the contract, the terms of which will be applied retroactively to Aug. 1, when the previous contract expired.
Negotiations between ATU Local 1005 and the Met Council took place as Republican majorities in the Legislature proposed deep cuts in funding for public transit – cuts the union says would lead to job losses and higher fares for riders.
Michael Moore edits The Union Advocate, the official publication of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation.