TriMet Tells Court Its Bargaining Team Has No Authority to Bargain
In a stunning statement to Multnomah County Circuit Court, TriMet claimed its bargaining team had no authority to reach agreement on a tentative contract that it will submit to the TriMet Board for approval.
In recent days, the Union showed TriMet that the Attorney General’s Manual clearly established that TriMet’s negotiating team was governed by Oregon’s public meetings law. This is because the bargaining team’s job is to reach a tentative agreement it then submits to the TriMet Board for approval. This process means that the negotiations have to be open to the public.
Yesterday, the Union received a copy of TriMet’s filing to the Multnomah Circuit Court. In that filing, TriMet claims only the general manager can give a recommendation to TriMet’s Board.
“The intent of the law governing collective bargaining is to have the two parties sit down and reach an agreement that both promise to take back to their respective governing bodies for ratification,” says Bruce Hansen, the president of the transit workers union. “In this statement to the Court, TriMet’s upper management is straddling two horses going in opposite directions. They’re telling the Union that TriMet’s bargaining team has authority to reach a tentative agreement at the same time they’re telling the Court that it doesn’t. Bottom line, TriMet’s statement to the Court means the Union must bargain with the general manager and/or Board of Directors directly.”