Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Screwing our retirees is HOW WE ROLL

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Neil Macfarlanes latest comments on the labor ruling (with my insightful comments of course)

I wanted to post an update to our efforts to secure a new ATU contract.  It’s taken more twists and turns over the past week.  First, the arbitration is delayed until mid-May.  Second, the ERB once again limited the issues the arbitrator will have before him.
On February 16, 2012, Employment Relations Board (ERB) issued an order that precludes TriMet from making any wage proposal as part of our final offer in the arbitration with ATU. This decision comes just three days after the arbitrator, at ATU’s request, agreed to a second delay in the interest arbitration that would resolve our long standing labor contract dispute with ATU. The arbitration is now delayed until mid-May. Previously, the ERB eliminated from the arbitration most of TriMet's proposals intended to reform the medical plans that we believe are out of step with the market.(see GREECE for market conditions) As you know, this year we are trying  to close a 17 million dollar budget shortfall mostly with service cuts and fare increases. The latest ERB decision is posted on our website.
I am disappointed by this latest ERB decision, and I believe it’s bad news for TriMet’s financial stability – and as such it is bad news for both our customers and over the long term, our employees.(But of course not bad news for YOU)  As a result of successive ERB’s rulings on TriMet’s arbitration proposals, even if TriMet wins the interest arbitration in May, it must continue paying 3 to 5 percent annual wage increases and what we view as an overly rich healthcare package to employees and retirees, whether it's justified by the market, review of other transit(wrong, other transit districts have better pay and equal health coverage) and public employee benefits, and whether we can afford it, or not.(If you can afford to keep hiring six figure executives and afford endless expansions then you can afford paying us liveable wage and decent health care)  Based on the recent ERB decisions, the arbitration issues have shrunk to just small medical plan design changes and few other miscellaneous issues.(The ERB ruled that Trimet DID NOT follow the law,  Mr Macfarlane will never admit the truth of this)   Options we will review include appealing the ERB decision, continuing to move into interest arbitration now set for mid-May or reaching a settlement with the ATU.  The latter is always the preferred option.
Let me reiterate – I have only the highest regard for TriMet’s union employees (sweet Jesus, save me from this sinner) -- who I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the last 20 years.  Your work and your dedication have my support.  I am the son of a machinist union member – this is about the math -- not being ‘anti-union.’  This is about a long-term sustainable financial structure for TriMet that is best for our customers and our employees.  To get there, more changes than the ERB has allowed will ultimately have to be on the negotiating table.

Thanks to you all for your patience on this!

Well Neil if you actually tried to follow established laws and procedures rather than act like a bully there might have been a better way for everyone to reach an agreement.


flatpickerjohn said...

Maybe the math would work if we took Milwaukee Light rail out of the equation.

David Dorn said...

You'll notice Mr. Macfarlane's rhetoric is always about the cost of doing business with the union labor contract being the reason for cutting service etc. Yet at the same time he pushes ahead on the Milwaukie Max line. If TriMet can not afford to provide service on it's existing lines why is the system still growing? "If you build it they will come" might be a great line from a movie, but this is the real world.

Erik H. said...

$12 million budget shortfall...

TriMet spends over $6 million on WES.

Trimet spends over $6 million as a giveaway to the City of Portland for the City of Portland Streetcar.

On top of whatever the expenses are for operating the Green Line (which aren't broken out anywhere)...and TriMet's own policy of forcing the bus system to have higher costs due to disinvestment, delayed bus purchases, delayed maintenance and higher fuel expenses...

On top of using the federal stimulus funds for clearly non-essential purposes, while other transit agencies were using those dollars to replace its older buses - increasing customer satisifaction, increasing revenue, AND decreasing operating expenses. TriMet decided that wasn't good enough - it was better to install roofs, build gas stations, and install lighting on a non-TriMet owned, non-TriMet operated bicycle path. It was better for TriMet to spend millions to take a perfectly good street and a perfectly good streetcar line - that was less than 10 years old - and build a new street on an earthen berm 10 feet higher than the surface, and a new streetcar line on the new street. For no real reason. Never mind that Trimet doesn't operate streets and doesn't own the streetcar...

Anonymous said...

What he means is: "Nobody's buying my BS and I'm disappointed. If only all those CEO mini run bus operators
weren't making so much money I could make this work! That darn union just won't listen. It's all their fault... again."

Anonymous said...

Seriously, how can anyone continue to believe McFarlane's rhetoric after the District continues to loose cases and appeals before the State of Oregon. Everytime I see a dirty bus roll by (and there are alot), I think of the stimulus money used to build a new bus wash at Merlo. It appears, based on the disgusting appearance of even our new buses, the wash is never even used!! The bus fleet is a complete disaster on all levels. The vehicles aren't inviting and are gross. What a waste of money!! Thanks Neil! I sure hope the person who assigns buses is giving you a 20 year old Metro to ride around in!