The Washington Post

Metro says money in reserves to pay for union wage increase

Metro has nearly $100 million in reserves to pay for a wage increase for members of the union that represents most of the transit authority’s employees, according to spokesman Dan Stessel.

A judge upheld the wage increase last week for members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689.

The union, which has about 10,000 members, had been in arbitration with Metro over a 9 percent wage increase for its members to be awarded in 3 percent increments for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The dispute began in 2008 after Metro and the union reached an impasse on contract negotiations.

In November 2009, an arbitration board ruled on some issues for the union, but Metro appealed the decision. The case went before U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte.

Last Friday, Messitte concurred with the arbitration panel. Metro has until Aug. 21 to appeal his decision.  

Stessel said in an e-mail that after the arbitrator’s decision “Metro prudently reserved funds to meet its obligation in the event we did not prevail in court.”

There is $46 million in reserve from past years and $50 million included in this year’s budget, Stessel said.

Earlier reports said Metro had more than $100 million in reserves. However, Stessel said that amount included $8.5 million paid out for a 2 percent wage increase that Metro did not dispute.

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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