ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – They haven’t had a contract in four years and they’ve agreed to different recommendations from a mediator but as talks between Metro and its largest union are set to resume Wednesday, both sides are expressing some optimism.
Metro President John Nations says his optimism stems from the fact that Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 understands Metro doesn’t have the money to meet its demands.
“All sides realize that we’re going to have to make some changes to make our company successful within the financial constraints within which we must deal,” he said.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 President Mike Breihan says they do agree that there are three key issues – pension, medical and pay – but they are still far apart on how to resolve them. Nations says both sides agree the workers deserve a raise but that would require a tax increase.
Still, Breihan is hoping a deal can be reached this month.
“It does seem strange to say hopefully we’ll get something done in a month after four years but I’ve seen deals where we’ve walked into a room and shut the door and didn’t come out until we got an agreement. That’s basically what I’m ready to do,” he said.
If that doesn’t happen, Breihan says he can’t rule out the possibility of a strike.
“One of us has to bend,” he added. “I’m willing to bend a little bit if they’re willing to bend a little bit. We both have to give a little bit.”