A labor dispute threatens to bring public transportation in the Washington, D.C., area to a halt just as Major League Baseball's annual all-star game festivities get underway this week National Park.
Thousands of workers represented by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's largest union voted Sunday to authorize a strike. The city's transit system, the third-largest in the U.S., transports about 1 million commuters a day and is readying for additional baseball fans as riders head to the ballpark for the home run derby on Monday and the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.
"Thousands of members turned out for the strike authorization vote yesterday meeting in Forestville, Maryland, where members voted 'yes' in favor of planning a strike by 94 percent," the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 said Monday in a statement.
The strike authorization vote by the union, which represents about 8,000 of the D.C. metro's 12,500 active workers, is the first in 40 years, the last of which resulted in a week-long wildcat strike.
"Dialogue is ongoing between management and union officials," the transit agency said in a statement, adding it did not want customers to endure interruptions in service.
In an emailed statement, the union bashed Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, saying he had violated the collective bargaining agreement and was engaged in an effort to slow public transit in the region.
Saying "it is not our intention to disrupt the MLB All-Star game," the union late Monday said it had agreed to meet with Widefeld representatives on Tuesday, and was hopeful that the transit agency would bargain in good faith and "not to use this meeting as a stop gap to get through the big day."