Accusing Metro of refusing to bargain in good faith, ATU Local 689 will officially declare an impasse in contract negotiations today and the union will seek to invoke arbitration. Over 9,000 ATU Local 689 members, who work as the frontline employees at Metro, have been without a contract since July 2016. “Metro employees are not asking for anything extraordinary,” said Local 689 president and lead negotiator Jackie Jeter (center). “In fact, a study commissioned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and led by former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, found that labor costs at Metro are in line with other major transit systems around the country.” Jeter said that the WMATA negotiating team has refused to negotiate reasonably on key issues, including fair wages, pensions, healthcare and safety. “Negotiations are give and take,” said Jeter. “All Metro wants to do is take. There is no way that Metro will improve if it plans to do so by destroying the morale of its workforce while offering less service and higher fares.” Day-to-day service at Metro will not be affected by the negotiating impasse, the union said. The contract issues will now be heard by a panel of three arbitrators – one chosen by the union, another by WMATA and a third independent arbitrator.