The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has called on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to remove Metro CEO John Nations for his failure to “correct the outrageous conduct of his staff at the bargaining table” in a letter to the Governors.
In the letter, ATU points to evidence of race baiting by members of Metro’s negotiating committee who offered members of ATU Local 788 a recipe for Oreo Cookies at the end of a very heated bargaining session. There have been no contract talks since. Metro workers have gone three years without a new contract and six years without a wage increase.
“While the majority of the bus operators at ATU Local 788 are African-American, most mechanics are White, as is the president,” ATU International president wrote in the letter. “The obvious message to us with the recipe was that our union is white on the inside and black on the outside, like the cookie. This transparent race baiting went well beyond the bounds of human decency.”
The incident occurred as Nations engaged in illegal activity by encouraging mechanics to leave the ATU and form their own union. He has publically dismissed the “Oreo” incident as a Metro employee sharing his baking hobby.
In response, ATU International President Larry Hanley wrote Nations a letter asking him to discharge the member of his bargaining team responsible for the race baiting. Nations ignored the request and sent a letter to all Metro employees threatening them for leafleting on Metro property.
Over the past two weeks Metro workers have intensified their campaign for a fair contract and economic justice for all. The local union held a demonstration outside Metro headquarters yesterday and the St. Louis County Council passed a resolution demanding Metro reach an agreement with its workers that "preserves and protects the retirement benefits of Metro's employees."
Exercising their First Amendment rights, off-duty Metro workers have been leafleting riders on public property near transit stops to expose the truth about Nations. He recently received a $75,000 raise and contract through 2020 while fueling the economic injustice that concerns riders and workers alike.