Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Neils Bullshit

 When you read through Neils latest Bullshit what you will see is there is no mention of structural improvements. Virtually every single full time run at Trimet mandates overtime. Not one word about scheduling and the mess they have made of operators lives with long split shift days and runs with out breaks. Not one word of the incompetence  of management for allowing  a shortage of drivers. Attempts to once again pass the buck on to the union are laughable. Mcfarlane has been such a miserable failure since they crowned him king that its embarrassing at this point that he remains General Manager.

Through The Eyes of Others
Yesterday's Oregonian article should find us all reflecting on how we run our business, and without blame or fault, asking ourselves hard questions about how we can improve.

I've long thought that our safety initiative, started shortly after I became GM 2 1/2 years ago, was truly focused on making safety a value that every one of us hold, and act on. We've had some notable successes, like a revamped RSA (request for safety assessment)(with uncertain results) and annual recertification training for operators(which has had zero effect on the accident rate) and supervisors. We've always known that is just the beginning though, and much more needs to be done.

One of those areas is the hours of service policy that governs overtime. Seen through the eyes of the Oregonian reporter, the current policy's shortcomings are glaring. Changing this policy has been on our list of issues to work through with the ATU – but sadly remains undone.(here we go again with his lies, trying to blame the union because he didn't hire appropriate staff. Neil has hired a boatload of executives in the meantime. The ATU has NO CONTROL OVER WORK ASSIGNMENTS.  TRIMET managment alone is responsible of working its operators to death (along with the greedy operators) That's why I've asked that this policy move to the 'A' list in our contract negotiations with the ATU (see for specifics).(What mr bullshit leaves out of his nonsense is that if they change the hours of service policy runs will be CANCELLED BY THE DOZENS. Trimet scheduling has to totally revamp their failed systems for that to succeed) I hope we can work this issue through quickly and have asked our contract negotiations team to relaunch that effort – but I tell you in any case it will not fall off my list as we negotiate or arbitrate the next contract.

While we work through changes in the policy to make it better, there are a few other actions I am asking for:
First, I ask that all of us reignite our focus on safety. Regarding fatigue, this means I ask all of our operators or safety sensitive personnel to monitor themselves. Safety is a personal value and responsibility of each of us, and each of us have to be honest with ourselves about fatigue.(whatever)

 Remember, it's not only OK to say 'no' to offers of extra work, it's expected of us as professionals if there is a real risk of fatigue setting in. (except that station agents and dispatchers make it very hard to say no)
 If an operator is feeling too fatigued to perform their work they should contact the station agent, management or if on the road Dispatch to request assistance.(trimet's time loss policy is extremely brutal and can result in termination)
Second, I ask that each of us report any concerns regarding fatigued staff to station management. This is not a 'gotcha' but instead a focus on initiating constructive conversations to make sure safety is at the forefront, and potential fatigue issues are eliminated. We will also continue to be responsive to customer complaints and supervisor observations. The more eyes the better.(whatever)

Third, I am asking that station agents, supervisors,(all have their own issues of exhaustion)  and station management be watchful and raise potential driver fatigue to a top level of concern.(I wonder just how they intend to administer this "tired test". You can pee in a bottle for a dope test but as far as I know there is no way to test for tiredness other than asking)

  Further, that they 'flag' situations where an operator accepts an assignment that is offered, as required by the seniority provisions of the contract, which requires returning to work with less than 9 hours off. I am also interested in knowing how many times our assignments would be in conflict with the standards in our proposal to the ATU (14 hrs/day limit), and I will be asking our analytical team to gather that data as we move forward. We will share that information with the ATU and the media (more false promises) should they request. Further still, I ask that station agents conduct their fit for duty checks on employees as they arrive at work to ensure they are not showing signs of fatigue or impairment.(so station agents will 'send people home' if they look tired? WHAT NONSENSE, also I've seen station agents so exhausted they themselves sleep on the job)

Additionally, I encourage station agents to be a resource to teach newer employees how to use
the various work rules currently in place to provide for rest and to let them know that it is “ok” to say “no” to an extra assignment offered outside their regularly scheduled work. There are always better alternatives than to put the safety of personnel and riders at risk.(more useless rhetoric)

Finally, I am asking internal audit to review compliance with our internal procedures for calling in operators for overtime to make sure there are no 'slip-ups' in complying with our current hours of service policies, and put us on the course for ensuring compliance with a negotiated or arbitrated change in that policy. I have asked our Safety & Security Executive Harry Saporta to monitor this package of actions and report his findings and recommendations directly to me regularly.(boy i feel better now)

We all know we have many important objectives to balance in our jobs, and our lives. That's why we've defined safety as a value,(barf  bag please) that overrides other objectives. Each operator and other safety sensitive personnel need to take care of themselves first, so you are well, and well rested. No one can do that for you. We can tighten policies and we can audit compliance, but in the end, the most effective tool to fight fatigue is the very tool I'm calling on each of us to use, and that requires no rule or contract change: our good judgment, our pride in our professionalism, and setting safety as a value we all hold.
Best as always!
Posted 1/7/13

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