Unionized Metro Transit workers have threatened to strike after rejecting the final contract offer from the Metropolitan Council.
In a statement Wednesday, ATU Local 1005, which represents 2,350 employees, said the union rejected the latest contract offer in a 94% vote. The union also authorized a strike if demands are not met, according to the statement.
“We put our lives and the lives of our families at risk every day to keep these buses and trains moving in the middle of a global pandemic,” said union president Ryan Timlin in a statement. "They’ve left us no choice but to mobilize.”
The union represents workers including operators, mechanics, cleaners and clerks. Timin said the union does not want to shut down operations, but if the offer does not change, they won’t have a choice.
The union also pointed to its role in helping Metro Transit secure $214 million in CARES Act funding to keep service running during the pandemic.
According to Fox 9, the current contract offer from the Met Council is $3.6 million. It would include a one-time payment of $1,500 to each member and an average 2.5% wage increase.
The contract also includes COVID-19 leave benefits.
“Our operators are the life-blood of Metro Transit. They are bravely reporting for work each day to keep the Twin Cities moving,” said ATU International President John Costa in a statement. “This 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.