- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Metro officials say there is little chance of a New York-style transit strike in the D.C. area, even though Metro’s contract with its biggest union expired more than a year and a half ago.

“We are currently engaged in collective bargaining with several of our unions, and we do not foresee a union calling for a strike,” Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

Miss Farbstein said officials have been negotiating new contracts with two of its five unions — including Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents 7,300 of Metro’s 10,000 workers. Metro’s contract with Local 689 expired April 30, 2004.

“We had an agreement that we would keep that contract in place with the union while we engage with them to try to come up with a new contract,” Miss Farbstein said.

Michael Golash, president of Local 689, declined to comment about contract negotiations.

“We are following the New York City strike closely,” said Mr. Golash, whose union represents mostly train, bus and maintenance workers.

“We consider the outcome of that strike of vital importance to our union, and we are consulting with our own executive board and with other union leaders in transit to assure a successful outcome of the New York City strike,” he said. “We are not going to let them lose.”

The Office and Professional Employees International Labor Union, Local 2 also is negotiating a contract. Representatives of Local 2 could not be reached for comment.

About 80 percent of Metro’s workers are unionized, Miss Farbstein said.

She said strikes are “not likely” because transit workers are told that they could be terminated if they walk off the job and that all labor disputes must be resolved in binding arbitration.

New York transit workers also are prohibited from striking.

Begun in 1976, Metro operates the country’s second-largest rail transit system (106 miles of track) and fifth-largest bus network (1,460 vehicles).

Metro averted a strike in 1992 and last endured a strike in 1978, which lasted about a week.

— Robert Redding Jr.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide