Metro union workers to rally Tuesday


(Bonnie Jo Mount/WASHINGTON POST)

The rally is planned for the morning rush hour from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

The event is being organized by leaders from Amalgamated Transit Union International, Local 689, along with Local 1764, which represents drivers of Metro’s door to door shuttle service for disabled riders, the MD/DC Alliance for Retired Americans and Occupy Wall Street. Local 689 represents about 10,000 Metro workers.

Metro officials have proposed an across-the-board fare hike for this year to help fill a $116 million budget deficit. Over the last two weeks, more than 100 riders expressed frustration at Metro’s plan to raise fares, saying they are getting poor, unreliable service on bus and rail and don’t believe the higher rates are justified.

Union leaders said they are also worried about the cut in pre-tax benefits for rail riders that’s being debated now on Capitol Hill.

“The difficulties facing transit in our nation’s capital are symptomatic of the same problems plaguing public transportation all over America,” Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union International, said in a press release.

“We are in the midst of a serious debate on the future of transportation in this country and Congress is moving backwards on this issue in a way that could return us to the days of the stagecoaches.”

Local 689 won a series of pay raises after a court ordered Metro to pay workers a 9 percent total increase for the last three years. Metro leaders have said wages and rising pension costs are 70 percent of the $2.6 billion operating cost in its fiscal 2013 budget.

Follow me on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

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