The union representing approximately 3,800 King County Metro, light rail, and streetcar employees has tentatively agreed to a new three-year contract with the county that excludes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the first year, which will save approximately $7.8 million in county transit funds in 2011. (These savings will be crucial next spring as KC Metro drafts its biennial budget for 2012-2013). To date, roughly 10,000 of the county's 11,000 unionized workers have agreed to waive their COLA for next year in light of the county's budget problems.

“This tentative agreement to forgo a cost-of-living increase for 2011 represents a significant commitment on the part of the union that represents the County’s largest bargaining unit,” said King County Executive Constantine in a statement released today.

“We have reached a tentative agreement that we feel we can take to our membership with a ‘do-pass’ recommendation,” said Paul J. Bachtel, President of the union chapter. The full terms of the contract settlement will be disclosed to union members at a closed-door meeting in November.