Metro union goes to court over pay-raises

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By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 9, 2009; 5:11 PM

The union that represents most Metro frontline workers filed suit in federal court in Maryland on Monday asking the court to "confirm and enforce" the labor contract arbitration award issued last week.

The action by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 follows last week's announcement by Metro that it would seek judicial review of the award, which gave pay raises to about 7,700 workers. The transit agency said the arbitration panel did not comply with a federal law prohibiting awards that exceed the agency's funding ability. The panel gave three consecutive 3 percent annual pay raises, part of a package that Metro said would cost $104.5 million over four years.

"It's unfortunate that the union has to go to court to enforce an award that by law is 'final and binding,' " union President Jackie L. Jeter said in a statement. She said union members have not received a pay raise since 2007. While Metro claims wage increases would have a negative impact, Jeter said the agency gave nonunion employees a 3 percent raise in 2009 that totaled more than $4 million.

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