Updated at 11 p.m. with comment from Metro Transit. 

Metro Transit employees rejected their employer’s “best and final” contract offer on Tuesday, siding with the request of their union representatives.

Catina Wilson, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 said about 80% of the more than 600 employees who voted Tuesday rejected the contract offer. There are about 1,800 Metro employees in the union.

“We knew they wouldn’t vote it in because the language in the contract took away some of the medical benefits,” said Wilson, who noted the union was prepared to go back into negotiations.

Following the vote, Metro Transit’s Executive Director Jessica Mefford-Miller said the company would honor the terms of the existing contract and planned to start mediation as the next step in the negotiating process.

The union wants a 3% increase for three years, while Metro offered pay raises of 2.25% the first year and 3% in each of the others.

Tuesday's vote came after nearly three months of contract negotiations plagued with drivers’ absences and calls from the union of intimidation of workers by Metro Transit.

The original contract ended in 2016, with an extension that expired June 30.

3 O'Clock Stir e-newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.