Many Metro bus drivers call in sick on Opening Day during labor dispute

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - More than 70 Metro bus drivers called in sick on Monday, the normal number is about ten. If this was a protest aimed at disrupting travel to the Cards Home Opener, they may have struck out. But, a lot of angry Metro bus riders were still waiting in the rain up to an hour and a half for their buses to finally arrive.

Metro has reached agreements with its union electrical workers and call a ride drivers. But, its clerical workers and bus drivers have yet to settle their substantial differences with Metro over pension issues. So, was Monday's high number of sick calls a direct result of that labor strife? metro's president and CEO put it in a "draw your own conclusions" kind of way.

"We have ten times the number of people call in sick that we would normally have. It just so happens it is opening day for the St. Louis Cardinals." said John Nations - Pres. & CEO, Metro.

The sick-out, if that is what it was, turned out to have had little effect on Cards fans. It had no effect on MetroLink which carries far more game day passengers than Metro buses. The sick calls also had no affect on routes in Illinois.

We attempted repeatedly to reach the president of the Amagamated Transit Union Local 788. but got no response. However the president of the union tells our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the drivers were not encouraged by the union to call in sick.