"Who moves Metro? We do!"
Metro bus drivers have been working under the terms of their old contract since the end of last month. They say the transit agency is playing hardball when it comes to increasing wages and benefits. Wayne Jackson is with the Transport Workers Local 260. He says he wants Metro to negotiate in good faith.
"Right now with the cost of living going up out there everything is going up. Insurance costs more. We need to survive. We're not asking them to give us anything we didn't earn. We just want them to pay us like they pay salaried staff people. They get increases. Please, increase our wages too."
There are about 1600 union bus drivers working for Metro. Henry, who didn't want to give his last name, has been driving a bus for two years.
"They're taking some things away from us that we need and we need the money most of all. We need raises. Everything is going up. We need more money on our checks. It's really important. We have a lot of people out here."
In a written statement, Metro CEO George Greanias says he won't negotiate the contract through the media, but says the bus drivers are critical to Metro's success. Union negotiators continue to meet this week in an effort to hammer out a new deal.
Statement from METRO President & CEO George Greanias:
"Our operators and mechanics, along with our entire bargaining unit workforce, are critical to the success of METRO and we appreciate all that they do. We have been working for three months to reach an agreement with the union, and we will not negotiate in the press. However, we are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to everyone involved."