Sunday, December 2, 2012

Neils bullshit

Working Toward a New Contract

Posted by Neil McFarlane at Nov 30, 2012 03:15 PM | Permalink
Today, the collective bargaining agreement that determines Union wages, hours and working conditions expires and we began negotiating with the leadership of those represented by the ATU – for a new contract.  We all know the best result will always come about through collective bargaining – and I pledge our good faith to do all we can to make those negotiations successful. Today – we also transmitted our proposal to the ATU.

In my view, we need a new contract that is:
1.    Fair to riders – it should avoid more service cuts or steep fare increases to keep our budget balanced
2.    Fair to employees – It should be in line with peer agencies
3.    Fair to taxpayers – it should demonstrate that TriMet runs an efficient business they should continue to invest in

Our approach to the new contract comes from guidance that TriMet’s Board adopted in May of 2010 – a key policy that says: “Bring TriMet’s health care and post employment benefits in line with a sustainable forecast of future TriMet revenues.” Think about it – if we don’t do this we have no other choice long-term than reducing service or increasing fares. Our customers and stakeholders have had enough of that over the past four years! We owe them, and all of us who work at TriMet, a more stable, predictable future.

And, I must be honest – keeping the status quo can only lead to recurring budget crisis’s, service cuts, and fare hikes. Modest changes will lead us on a path toward a sustainable financial future. However, we can’t kid ourselves either. The issues are tough and the negotiations will be tough. Change is tough.

I will do the best job I can communicating with you throughout this process – subject to whatever ground rules we agree to with ATU leadership. The latest negotiation information as well as our proposal is posted at so that we are transparent to you and to the public we serve.

As I shared earlier with you and ATU leadership, we will be passing on to ATU employees the increased cost of insurance premiums and freezing the COLA until negotiations or a future arbitrator establish a new contract. This is in line with a recent ERB case.

My fervent hope is that we can complete negotiations in a way and time frame that reduces uncertainty, and the anxiety that goes with it. I know I can count on all of you to continue to deliver the great service our riders have come to expect and I thank you in advance for your patience and commitment to doing the right thing.


Looking to the future

Posted by Neil McFarlane at Nov 29, 2012 12:25 PM | Permalink
Tuesday, our Board of Directors held a retreat to talk about the future of TriMet. I first have to say how grateful I am to have a Board whose members are active in the many decisions this agency faces. They are devoted to making the agency successful over the long haul. They remain focused on creating a sustainable financial future where we can grow our transit service.
At the retreat – we looked ahead to what transit could look like in 2022. While that sounds very futuristic, it's only 10 years away! Decisions we are making today will have a big impact on what kind of service we provide in 10 years. We had a great discussion about bus service options, and how we could apply the variations like BRT (bus rapid transit) in different parts of our region. We also talked about how we need to better engage some of our partner jurisdictions to help build the most basic of transit infrastructure – the sidewalk – because every one of our customers is a pedestrian first!
All in all, I came away grateful for our Board members’ volunteer service to us. Job #1 is clearly getting our fiscal house in order, but I’m eager to begin looking at how we can better serve our growing region in the years ahead.

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