Transit union workers protest at city council meeting - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Transit union workers protest at city council meeting

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It was one of the larger groups to attend a Rochester city council meeting, and they came with a message.

The group represents a union made up of transit workers and they were at Monday night's meeting protesting a long-standing contract-stalemate with First Transit Incorporated.

It is a struggle that has stretched on for nearly a year between First Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union 1005.  It began, back in January of this year, with still no real agreement in sight.

The transit workers came to city council to voice their frustration in the failure to reach an agreement on their wage and benefits contract.

Union members gathered in protest and are turning to council members for cooperation in pushing First Transit to negotiate with them.

The most recent contract proposal fell through with 92 percent opposing.

Union workers are concerned that First Transit's desire to lower new workers' wages and then freezing them for two years will dissuade qualified and dedicated workers from wanting jobs with the company.

"It's time to let the city know what's going on. They have the contract with First Transit," said Mark Lawson, president of AMU 1005.  "We feel they can encourage First Transit to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done."

City Council members could do little more than voice their support for the union members, saying there was little they could do considering they are not city workers.

The City Council also examined the 2014 budget at Monday's meeting, they will be finalizing and voting to approve that budget on Dec. 16.

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