Transit workers have a much higher rate of heart disease, and blood pressure related illness. (Strokes), skeletal degeneration. and many other illness. This is due to the fact that driving a bus is ranked as one of the highest stress jobs in the world. many studies point this out. The sad truth is that while it may sound outrageous that bus drivers get health care for life after retirement, a large number of them don't live long enough to really tax the system. There is a reason why they fought so hard to get good health care, it is because the job is very unhealthy.
Tri-Mets general manager makes in excess 200k and his predecessor who worked for the agency for ten years has a pension of $15,000 a month for life.These are not union positions, but they are your tax dollars. These are the people making the decisions that have put the agency in the mess it is now. There are countless others in upper management, that make excessive amounts of money. When they make a bad decision that costs the public millions of dollars (WES) they just blame it on the union. Management is taking zero responsibility for their actions, and poor decisions. It is all the unions fault, or the down economy.
Neil McFarlane says the union has been successful in their legal maneuvers, to drag out the contract talks. That would have some merit if Tri-Met was not found in violation of federal and state labor laws, as a result of the Unfair labor practice complaints. That's right Tri-Met broke the law. If I break the law where I work I get fired. They break the law and get to go out and brag about it to the City Club. This sets up all the front line employees that have to face the public, to have to defend themselves. They are the ones who get spit on, and cussed at and called names, while Neil and his contractor friends go on the speaking circuit, and tell cute anti union jokes.
If you want to talk about unsustainable, how about expanding a system at the same time you are making service cuts. If operations are loosing money lets expand them so we can loose more. We can just make it up in volume. The workers that make the system work are people that were hired to do a very demanding job with an even more demanding schedule. A good percentage burn out, and don't make it to the ten years it takes to get vested. These employees are not the problem, it is the management that has never driven a bus, or put chains on tires in a snow storm. I would challenge Neil McFarlane to go through bus training and work as a mini runner for six weeks, then lets see how he feels about things.