Metro union workers approve new contract

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Union workers approved a new 4-year contract with the Bi-State Development Agency Thursday night.  Union leaders did not disclose the vote total, but said a majority approved the deal.

According to Metro, the deal will be retroactive to July 1st and include annual pay increases of 3% for bus and Metro operators, maintenance workers and clerical staff.  5% annual pay bumps will be given to mechanics.

Union president Michael Breihan said pension benefits would remain the same and believed that was a big reason for members approving the deal.

Workers will also receive a one-time bonus of up to $2,000 depending on their years of service.  Some workers left saying they voted no because of a change in retiree benefits.  Some benefits feared the change would leave them without the ability to afford health benefits not covered by Medicare.

After the vote, Breihan said members would now focus on a separate issue.   Union members believe a Metro representative used a race-baiting tactic during contract negotiations.  Union leaders claim a Metro representative implied the union was an Oreo cookie union.  Metro has said the incident was taken out of context.

After workers approved the contract a statement from the Bi State Development President and CEO John Nations saying, "We are pleased this has been resolved and we look forward to working with our employees to continue to provide the best transit service in the country."

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