ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The day after approving a new multi-year contract with Metro, union members from the transit agency stood in front of Metro`s headquarters accusing company leaders of using race to try and split the union. Some at the rally even called on Metro CEO John Nations to resign.
About 150 people-many of them from Metro`s main union the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788- came together then marched around the building in Laclede`s Landing. They carried signs saying 'they called us Oreos.' The signs were referring to a situation back in July. The president of Local 788 Mike Breihan says after a contract bargaining session, a Metro official gave union leaders a recipe for Oreo cookies.
Breihan says the move was an attempt by Metro to use racial tactics to divide the union. Breihan believes Metro was trying to get the mechanics- who are mostly white- to break away from the drivers- who are mostly black. Breihan says it didn`t work.
He told us, "Majority of the union is African American. And basically to us what they were telling us is that we are white on the inside and black on the outside and it was just totally disrespectful. It should never have happened."
The demonstration came after union members approved a new multi-year contract with Metro on Thursday night.
Breihan says his members had been working without a contract since January of 2011 and went six years without raises.
Other labor groups stood with Local 788 at the rally.
"Any kind of damage to one union is a damage to all the unions," said John Harris with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.
Breihan thinks Metro`s CEO John Nations should resign.
"I don`t know if he knew about it, but he should have done something immediately. At this point, it`s too late to do something so maybe he just needs to go," said Breihan.
Breihan says nothing was ever done at metro about the Oreo cookie incident and he wants accountability at Metro.
Breihan tells us today`s rally was going to take place whether a contract deal was reached or not.
In a statement, CEO Nations said he is committed to making sure that Metro employees work in an atmosphere of respect and that he has already had conversations with his senior staff on these issues.