Metro, union hoping to avoid strike

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Union transit workers from the St. Louis area cast a symbolic vote on Tuesday.  Michael Breihan, president of their union, says workers voted in favor of two key recommendations by a mediator but rejected a third recommendation.

Workers supported recommendations related to pensions and pay but rejected recommendations related to health insurance.

John Nations, president and CEO of Metro, says the transit agency does not have the money to meet workers demands.  He is urging the two sides to sit down and negotiate.

He said the only way to give workers want they want, would be to reduce services dramatically or to ask voters for a tax increase.  He said neither one was an option.

Metrolink passengers arriving at Busch Stadium for Tuesday`s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates seemed hopeful the two sides could reach a deal.

"I don`t think anyone wants a tax increase," said one passenger.

"Workers deserve a raise," said another.

Breihan said late Tuesday night that both sides should sit inside a room without lawyers and with the doors locked until a deal is reached.

Breihan did not anticipate a strike anytime soon.

"It may happen next month if they (Metro) are not willing to sit down and talk,"
said Breihan.

Workers have already voted to give the union the authority to call strike.  Breihand says some workers have not received a raise in 5 years.

"We`re just praying that we can get this done."

Metro workers voting on arbitrator recommendations

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