Update on Operator Fatigue Policy Negotiations Between TriMet and Union
The Union sent general manager Neil McFarlane a proposal for an interim hours of service policy intended to prevent bus operator fatigue. It is meant to cover the time between now and when the parties start bargaining their contract and reach a successful conclusion.
On Thursday, January 10, 2012 Randy Stedman, TriMet Executive Director of Labor Relations sent a counter proposal to which the Union responded today.
The Union’s response focuses on the primary difference between the parties’ two proposals. The Union has proposed that a bus operator work day span no more than 12 hours unless there is an emergency. TriMet’s proposal is that operators can be scheduled to work 14 hours a day. The transit workers’ union president, Bruce Hansen, says a 14-hour workday is too long. “No human being, especially one transporting passengers through city traffic, can safely operate a bus for over a 14-hour long work day, day after day.” He notes that even the 12-hour work day span proposed by the Union is too much but says “It’s an effort to meet TriMet management half-way.”
The Union’s proposal cites recent PSU studies which emphasize that the span of the workday is the culprit when it comes to unsafe driving. In summary, the studies found that a long workday span leads to stress and fatigue which leads to absenteeism which leads to TriMet extra board operators working too much overtime. The study also notes that the chance of collision begins increasing in the 11th hour.
Referencing the recent newspaper articles on extra board operator fatigue, Hansen said, “The problem of excess hours worked by extra board operators would not exist but for the extraordinarily long days worked by the hundreds of other operators driving splits. Those long work days are unsafe for the public and passengers. They are also unhealthy for the operators so they are absent more.”
The Union’s original proposal was previously distributed. TriMet’s counterproposal and the Union’s response are attached. The PSU studies are available by clicking on, or by cutting and pasting the following link into your browser window:
Attached Documents: http://www.atu757.org/