Metro Gets Picketed

About 30 Metro employees picketed the downtown transit center this morning, demanding that Metro save benefits planned to be cut, and improve other benefits.

Members of Transportation Workers Union 260 told the Houston Press that contract negotiations were planned today, and they feared losing benefits like paid vacation (some long-time drivers said their vacations would be cut to one week) and a “longevity” package where workers get an annual bonus after three years of employment. Metro Spokeswoman Raquel Roberts would not comment on the protest or the negotiations, saying, “We’d rather discuss it with the union than in the media, at this point.”

A 13-year driver told us that drivers are sometimes put in harm’s way, and their benefits packages should reflect their hard work.

“We’re getting jumped on, beat on…[we’re] unappreciated,” she said.

Drivers also complained to the Press about what they considered an unfair two-tier wage system, and also that they are paid for an 8-hour day when the split-shift nature of their schedules means they are devoting more than eight hours a day for work.

Union President Sandra Burleson was unavailable for comment.

-- Craig Malisow

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