Metro Pleads Poverty, Plans to Appeal Pay Raises

Union awarded three 3 percent raises

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    WASHINGTON -- Metro, saying it can't afford it, will appeal an arbitration award giving its largest union three consecutive 3 percent annual pay raises.

    The three-person arbitration panel signed its split decision on Wednesday.

    Metro general manager John Catoe said Thursday that the panel did not comply with federal law, which permits such increases only if the costs to the agency do not adversely affect public welfare.

    Metro has a projected $30 million budget shortfall this fiscal year and about $144 million next year.

    The contract is with Local 689, Metro's largest labor union.