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WMATA to appeal arbitration award governing ATU agreement

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) plans to appeal a collective agreement arbitration award between the agency and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689. The award failed to comply with federal law governing the agency’s arbitration process, WMATA officials believe.

In February, arbitrators became involved in efforts to forge an agreement, which covers about 7,700 WMATA rail and bus employees. Last week, a three-person panel signed off on an arbitration award that calls for 3 percent annual wage increases the next three years.

However, the award did not comply with the National Capital Area Interest Arbitration Standards Act, which prohibits an arbitrator from rendering an award that provides for salaries and other benefits that exceed the interstate compact agency’s funding ability, WMATA officials said in a prepared statement. An arbitration award can only provide a pay rate increase if any costs to an agency do not adversely affect the public welfare, they claim.

Meanwhile, the ATU filed a lawsuit in an attempt to compel a federal court to confirm and enforce the arbitration award.

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