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Metro Transit workers overwhelmingly vote to authorize strike

In response to the vote, the Metropolitan Council said it's "not anticipating any immediate service impacts at this time."

MINNEAPOLIS — Metro Transit workers overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike Monday night.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, which represents about 2,400 Metro Transit employees, posted on Facebook following the vote that 94% of members said "yes" to strike authorization, while just 6% voted "no."

The vote was authorized to take place during the union's last meeting in July 2023, shortly before the union's most recent three-year contract expired on Aug. 1. 

ATU Local 1005 President Ryan Timlin said the priority in this round of negotiations is the need for increased staffing.

"At least a month or two ago, we were 400 operators less than we were before the pandemic, but it's just not operators. We're missing out on helpers who help clean up the platforms. They also assist mechanics with getting the buses fueled and ready to go out and be driven," Timlin said. "We haven't hired (in) a while in the rail support area, which does the track maintaining and signals for the tracks — that's the safety stuff for the trains — and also they work on the electrical lines and the communications between the train an d the other systems."

He said people aren't applying to these jobs but insists Metro Transit has the money to make them more marketable.

"Metro Transit finally has gotten a dedicated source of funding yearly from here on out. The state legislature has confirmed that," according to Timlin.

So should you be concerned about catching your next ride? Not yet. Riders who rely on Metro Transit shouldn't expect to see any service impacts, and there's no guarantee a strike will materialize. The union would still have to provide a 10-day strike notice, among other steps before a works stoppage.

In response to the vote, the Metropolitan Council released a statement saying, "We are not anticipating any immediate service impacts at this time. Our employees are integral to serving those who rely on transit and we look forward to reaching an agreement."

Timlin says negotiations are scheduled for Sept. 22 and Oct. 5.

ATU Local 1005's strike vote came down just two days before meatpacking workers at Hormel's plant in Austin, Minnesota are set to vote on whether or not they'll accept a contract offer from the company. The union representing workers said Hormel recently gave the UFCW Local 663 bargaining committee its "final offer," but refused to "give us good wages and secure pensions after record company profits."

Voting takes place on Sept. 13 and 14. The union said in a statement that it's encouraging members vote "no."

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