Q: With the negotiations between TriMet and the ATU at a"standstill" - how much is this costing me, a union employee?
A: Good question, as this affects roughly 2,000 TriMet employees. With the expired contract, TriMet is no longer paying wage increases and has passed along the increase in health care costs until the contract is settled. The next wage increase was to take effect on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. Union members are now paying the health care cost increases, which averaged 9.25% for Regence and 6.25% for Kaiser. This means that union members are paying more per month for their health care than non-union employees who pay 6 percent of premium costs. TriMet has proposed in the new contract that union employees pay 6% of the premium cost. So, in essence, until the contract is settled, a union employee is paying more now than what is being proposed under the new contract. To put that in real dollars, if delays continue beyond June 2013, it would mean the economic impact for a typical 15-year bus operator with Regence family coverage will be around $94.20 in lost monthly wages and pay $37.12 more a month in healthcare costs. That’s roughly $131 a month. And, on a side note, TriMet also has proposed a contract term that is prospective, meaning no retroactive wage adjustments or reimbursement of premiums will be paid. Question? Just Ask! Contact us at EmployeeCommunications@trimet.org.