Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Saturday, November 22, 2014

C-Tran/Trimet contract

For several months, the C-Tran Board of Directors has discussed its controversial light rail contract with TriMet mostly in closed executive sessions.
A surprise motion by Clark County Commissioner David Madore prompted a rare public discussion at this week’s meeting, while board members awkwardly straddled the line between what to keep confidential and what to talk about openly.
Immediately after another executive session on the subject Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor and C-Tran board chair Tim Leavitt started to wrap up the meeting, seemingly expecting no further debate.
He began, “No formal action from the C-Tran board regarding the TriMet operations and maintenance of light rail contract, so we’ll–”
“Excuse me, Mr. Chairman?” Madore jumped in. “I would like to make a motion.”
Leavitt, with a less-than-pleased look on his face, yielded the floor to Madore. The Republican commissioner moved that C-Tran send a letter to TriMet stating that C-Tran considers the agreement “null and void.” Washougal City Councilor Connie Jo Freeman offered a second.
Some background: C-Tran earlier this year sent a letter to TriMet asking that the two agencies jointly terminate the contract tied to the failed Columbia River Crossing project. Last week, TriMet responded by flatly denying that request.
Madore’s motion would have upped the ante, and possibly resulted in a legal dispute between the two transit agencies.
Vancouver City Councilor Jack Burkman said he would oppose the motion, but wouldn’t comment further to avoid disclosing what was discussed in executive session. Madore said his motion was a “decisive action” not connected with that discussion.
The motion ultimately failed by a 5-3 vote. That’s when things got interesting.
“Didn’t we just agree to send a letter?” Freeman asked, apparently referring to the executive session. “So is this going to undo that?”
“What did you just say?” said Vancouver City Councilor Bart Hansen, looking toward Freeman.
“Nothing,” Madore responded.
“Didn’t you just say something?” Hansen said.
“In this motion,” Madore said.
“Be careful what you say,” said Hansen, still looking toward Freeman. “I’m saying that politely. I’m not trying to be — just be very careful what you say. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you disclose what happened in executive session.”
In Oregon, state law allows reporters to attend executive sessions. Sometimes I wish Washington would follow suit.
C-Tran board publicly, awkwardly discusses light rail deal - All Politics is Local

Friday, November 21, 2014

My favorite Trimet facebook comments

 TriMet Facebook

Latest "Best of the Trimet tweets"

The wonderful Trimet cell phone app gives plenty of heartache to Trimet riders

Transit riders of  Portlandia take to twitter to express their  feelings about  Portland's 'world famous' transit system  (Known to the locals as THE TRIMESS ) And if you want to know what's REALLY going on at Trimet check out TRIMETSCANNER

Trimet scheduling department really needs a shake up

This happens way to often to be acceptable. This is why people don't use public transit and will never use public transit. This is why bus drivers are mean and rude. You have all these buses running this late as often as Trimet does and you have an agency that is a failure. Just give Mcfarlane another raise, the worse things are at Trimet the more money he makes.

Trimet governance is a total joke

Trimet bus drivers on YouTube

"Trimet don't have a backup"

Everything for Mcfarlane-nothing for the drivers

A pal of mine just got 2 commendations from riders on their bus.
They lamented how there is no longer gift cards for operators who do a great job at Trimet
I remember when Trimet removed those  little perks due to 'budget problems'
Well the budget problems are over but Trimet has still removed all those little perks that drivers would get for their superior performance.

I guess all of that sort of thing needs to go to King Neil now, for his current administration and his future retirement.

After all, Neil is much more important that some bus driver serving the public day after day.

 Neil gets annual salary of $229,000.  
$97,179 cash payment on the day he retires.
$12,800 every month for life when he retires

But Trimet can't afford $25 gift certificates for Bus operators

Bus gets T-boned

Police: Driver t-bones TriMet bus |

Meeting with Bruce Hansen-ATU President

I haven't seen Bruce since leaving Trimet employ. I forgot what a nice guy he is. One thing I can say about Bruce, he does try to do the right thing.. He wanted me to hear it from him what his logic was for accepting the deal with Trimet. 

And he is willing to meet one on one with any member of ATU757 if they don't understand what's going on.
That says a lot about the character of the man.

I am  programmed  very closely to vice president Hunt.  Both of us have been fighting with Trimet officials so long that neither of us can envision any sort of honest cooperation anymore. Both of us suffer from the "victory or death" syndrome.

I don't trust them, I never will trust them but I imagine that Bruce is most likely correct about one thing, the  loss of  health coverage from one of the best in the country to just another average policy was inevitable.

It's a shame that the retirees had to take this huge hit, the company did indeed lie to us about our retirement package. Our retirement package shrunk significantly while Mcfarlanes got much richer. And so goes the world right now. 
The public enjoys watching public employees getting eaten alive. 
The mainstream media has successfully infiltrated the minds of our fellow citizens into believing the race to the bottom is good for them.

I also agree with Bruce that ATU757 is in a much more desirable position if we end up with another arbitration.
ATU757 has taken two consecutive hits in these contract negotiations, a 'fair' arbitrator would most likely take that into account.

By entering into an agreement now rather that fighting it till the bitter end saves the union and its members (currently working at Trimet) heartache on multiple fronts beyond the health care component.

  I still continue to believe that ATU757 should have never agreed to give up the right to strike. The reason we are in the position that we all find ourselves today is that our union (Jon Hunt) gave our leverage away. With out the power to strike there is in reality no union. 

In the end President Hansen emphasized that this ordeal is over for now. There is no going back. The contract was approved by a vast majority of the members that voted so it is totally legitimate.
There is no point in discussing this any longer.

Solidarity is essential from here

Legalization of marijuana means nothing if you're a Trimet employee

At least if your a union employee. 
(do non union employees get drug tested I wonder)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trimet version of my speech to the board

Don't forget the crap that Trimet tried to pull in the past

Remember what the Trimet board actually does

They have one agenda, and that is to support the Trimet General Manager.
The are appointed specifically for that purpose. 
Basically they are just cheerleaders for the general manager. 
They are accountable to nobody but the governor and the governor is one of the leaders of the Portland Light rail Mafia.
No matter how much public outcry may occur they can ignore all of it. 
The public is not important.
Anybody that thinks anything else is seriously deluded. 
They acknowledge no criticism, they say nothing negative and are completely useless for the public and employees as advocates.
They gave away the store to Fred Hansen and now Neil Mcfarlane.
Until such time as control of Trimet is wrestled from the governor nothing will change.

Trimet ridership up- thanks to bus (again)

But the good old reliable (sometimes) bus does most of the work for Trimet

The Mcfarlane money story keeps going and going

 And the sock puppets keep on giving away the tax payers money.
What a freaking joke Trimet governance is.
Like I said at the meeting, the only thing that phony board cares about is the executive class of the management. Everything else is expendable.
This is not unusual by the way, transit executives are getting rich at multiple agencies in the country.
 American public transit is a train wreck but that doesn't stop the people at the top from stuffing their pockets. 

When the TriMet board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to sweeten General Manager Neil McFarlane's paycheck, it approved a two-piece package that will contribute to one of the most generous retirement deals in the transit agency's history.

First, there was the 3.4 percent pay increase -- the 62-year-old transit leader's second in two years -- boosting his annual salary to $229,000. On top of that, the board awarded McFarlane two more weeks of vacation during the life of the new two-year contract.
Why does a transit executive who already receives nine weeks of vacation a year need an extra 80 hours?
At TriMet, the general manager is not eligible for annual bonuses. However, in a system where McFarlane is allowed to stash and cash out up to 1,500 hours of unused vacation at retirement, paid time off can wind up being a bonus by another name.

In fact, McFarlane, who worked at the transit agency for 19 years before becoming general manager in 2010, has already saved up 889 hours – or 20 weeks -- of unused vacation. That would amount to a lump-sum pay out of $97,179 on the day he retires. 
Valued at $8,800, the contract's extra two weeks of vacation will be added to McFarlane's vacation bank. "The intent is to see him take some time off," said Bruce Warner, the TriMet board president. "But it's his to use however he wants to use it."

Read the entire story: TriMet GM's 'vacation bank' guarantees big retirement pay out on top of $12,800 monthly pension |

That Trimet board can't be honest about anything

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dilbert gets it right

Essay on Trimet bus drivers

Is it Tri MET...or Tri MAD????

Classic Tweets

Appearance at the Trimet board of directors

We all know that speaking to the Trimet board is about as productive as speaking to the wall in your house. It absolutely means nothing to these people. Doesn't change anything and testimony is completely disregarded as soon as you end your presentation.

But today was a good opportunity to pay the debt I owed to Mr Mcfarlane for my failed small claim. The court ordered me to pay him, how's that for justice?

I made my little speech and that's that.
I think I qualify as the most hated employee in Trimet history.
Sorry about that, I'm a product of the Trimet culture

Pretty sweet to be a Trimet executive

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

General Managers and construction contractors get what ever they want

Mcfarlane's greed is unparalleled


Mcfarlane keeps getting richer and richer

Just two years ago his salary was $221k. I'm sure he is very proud of himself. He will also be pulling a retirement that rivals Fred Hansen.

Mcfarlane has abrogated years of commitments to his employees/retirees stealing away the health care that the retirees were promised.

He has sent Nazi type fare inspectors  into his light rail to intimidate riders.

He got rid of the fareless square He toyed with Opal
And he raised fares for riders making Trimet one of the most expensive public transit systems  in the country

So Mcfarlane gets richer on the backs of his employees and the public..

Trimet reliability has gone down the tubes since Neil became General manager

In my opinion he is the worst general manager in Trimet history.
My opinon means nothing to the trimet oligarchs. And the opinion of the public is of no conern to these people. 

Satisfaction ratings of Trimet shows a steep decline. What do these sock puppets do? They give him another "retroactive' raise.

What a joke that Trimet board is, completely useless 

Welcome to the new Amerika!

Monday, November 17, 2014

October's weird TriMet service alerts

NOTE: Many of these alerts were written by dispatchers who are not expected to be language experts, may not have time to proofread, and make mistakes like all humans.  They may have many other tasks in progress at the moment, such as dealing with buses that are already stuck due to the blockage or situations elsewhere.  While the errors probably should be forgiven, they can cause confusion or problems for those who try to follow them.

And yes, I'm weeks late in posting these. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I assume its a 9:00am, its not specified on the Trimet web page. 
The materials for the board meeting are "coming soon". 

I'm planning on attending this  board meeting and at that time  I'll pay Mcfarlane the $150 I owe him that I promised to pay when he pays me for my health insurance

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Don't cheap out on your medical care and make sure to mail early!

Another Trimet bus driver assault

"Crime Train" news

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -  A 16-year-old girl was stabbed while riding the MAX on Friday night in the middle of the evening commute.

Her attacker is still on the run, according to police.

Police say it happened just after 5 p.m. on board the blue line MAX train.  A Trimet driver reportedly called for help as the train pulled into the Gateway Transit Center,  but it's believed the girl was stabbed around 162nd Avenue.

Police say the suspect, a black man possibly in his teens, jumped off the MAX at the 162nd Avenue stop, and was with a Hispanic woman at the time.  It's not known if the teenage victim knew her attacker.

Police have not said where the girl was stabbed, but say she was rushed to the hospital. Her injuries are said to be non life-threatening. 

“It's absurd, it's crazy, this shouldn't be happening. The MAX should be safe,” passenger Alan Monteverdi said.

“Getting stabbed on the MAX? I mean someone's gotta be real crazy for doing that,”  passenger Frank Lrenz said.  “And they still haven't found him,  that's pretty bad." 

Trimet says they have cameras positioned on board their MAX trains.  Investigators say they will be able to view those tapes and get a better sense of what happened, and a more detailed description of the suspect. 

If you know anything about what happened, Portland Police want to hear from you right away. 

Girl, 16, stabbed on board MAX train during evening commute - KPTV - FOX 12

Friday, November 14, 2014

Interview with Jeff Ackerson about the latest contract

I talked with Jeff about the process involved with the contract deal. I admit I flew off the handle when the deal was reached because I (like everyone else) had no idea that they were even close to a deal.
I also admit that I have no 'inside' information about the process that went down in reaching this agreement. From where I sit I saw it as total capitulation giving Mcfarlane his crowning achievement, the union contract he wanted when he took over as general manager.

So Jeff has taken it upon himself to attempt to educate me further on the details of the contract and why things are the way they are. 

This interview has been edited 

TriMet’s Service Guidelines document

What we have here is how Trimet does its service planning, supposedly. 
It appears all  very logical and comprehensive.
Of course there is no way for anyone outside of Trimet to actually evaluate whether the steps that are outlined here actually occur. 
But they are taking comment if  you wish to provide that


Photo by Lane Jensen

Trimet chain fiasco-'snowvember'

Very reliable sources tell me that Trimet never intended to chain up the buses that already had the insta-chains .
The rumor is that Roberta Alsdadt   told the Oregonian that all the buses would be chained so the order was changed to accommodate what Alstadt told the Oregonian

KGW report on Snowvember!

Trimet coughs up the $$$$$

Like don't steal money from employees?
After 2 courts  ruled that Trimet must refund money they  stole from employees paychecks for health insurance premiums Trimet finally refunded the money.
(Blue cross only)

Trimet agreed to the refunds after the union agreed to give Trimet what they wanted on the health insurance.

This should have never been part of the deal since Trimet was illegally withholding this money.

How do we know its the right amount? 
I have no idea.
 Do I trust Trimet to 'do the right thing'? 
Absolutely not.
Now I have to figure out how they calculated these refunds

Who's that tweeting for Trimet?

Jessica Ridgway huh? 
How bout a face Trimet? 
Come out of the shadows!

Trimet cheapskates actually paid postage

The Trimet oligarchs have a policy of  nickel and diming its riders and union employees so its somewhat of a surprise that they actually paid the return postage for the health benefits signup material this year.

Trimet Blue Cross options costs compared

This information is only for members that like Blue Cross, the only difference with Kaiser is that the member pays $10 instead of $5. Kaiser is the cheapest option and Trimet would love to force all the union employees onto that.
 Its my understanding that 1/2 the union employees already choose Kaiser.

Here are the out of pocket charges each month for Blue Cross coverage
80-20 plan: retiree only=$37.29; with spouse=$78.31; with family=$104.42

90-10 plan: retiree only=$82.84; with spouse=$174.01; with family=$231.97

Click to enlarge

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Trimet customers take to twitter to rage over the latest fail

The day started with Trimet needlessly chaining up buses. It was 37 degrees outside when I went to bed the night before and was actually getting warmer yet the powers that be decided to chain up all the buses. Needless to say there was no snow (which is almost always the case when Trimet chains buses before it actually snows.)

Then in the afternoon there was some minor freezing rain but it was enough to paralyze the max service surprisingly in the tunnel of all places!


Trimet fails again

MAX service fails thousands of people stranded