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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trimet charged with unfair labor practice


The bus operators’ union filed unfair labor practice charges against TriMet charging that the agency’s top managers have bargained in bad faith. “TriMet spent thousands of public relations dollars claiming that its 44-year unfunded retiree medical insurance obligation (OPEB) has to be eliminated. Yet, getting TriMet to provide timely, complete, accurate information about health insurance and that unfunded obligation has been impossible,” says Bruce Hansen, the Amalgamated Transit Union president.

When asked why the union chose to file today, Hansen said. “We finally got permission to meet with TriMet’s actuaries on May 13, 2014. These are the folks who came up with the unfunded obligation number. While we were in meeting with them, Randy Stedman declared impasse, putting an end to the bargaining period. We didn’t even have a chance to apply the information we learned to our proposal.


Asked why knowing the facts underlying the unfunded obligation is important, Hansen explained. “The whole idea behind TriMet’s PR campaign is that the 30-years-in-the-future number has to be reduced. First we have to know that number is legit. Turns out it’s inflated. Second, we need to know the fairest way to reduce that number. For example, how much impact does taking away a benefit, lower that number?”

Hansen again reiterated that his union’s members know they will have to take a reduction in medical insurance. “But, it is ridiculous for TriMet management to claim that these folks today are responsible for over four decades of TriMet management’s bad fiscal decisions. For 44 years they promised to provide retiree health insurance. Our members agreed to lower pensions and a ten-year vesting period just so they would have health insurance. What we learn now is that for 44 years, TriMet saved not a single penny to fund that promise. So, who is really to blame here?”

There’s a problem with insurance costs as well.  “We’ve learned TriMet is overpaying for insurance. We are supposed to pay part of the premiums and have lower benefits. We’ve offered to work together with TriMet to come up with better insurance plans and rates. They refused to even discuss it. Yet, every other public agency in the area uses this joint labor-management approach.”

Hansen says there’s been no improvement in either agency transparency or labor management relations. “The state auditor and the TriMet Board have clearly stated TriMet needs to change how it works with the Union. Both called for collaboration and cooperation. Management still hasn’t gotten the message because they continue to make the situation worse.”

Link to Unfair Labor Practice: www.atu757.org/ULPDutyToBargainATUvTM.pdf
While we were in meeting with them, Randy Stedman declared impasse, putting an end to the bargaining period. We didn’t even have a chance to apply the information we learned to our proposal.”(if this is actually true then the union should have no problem winning this. There were supposed to be witnesses to this process which could have verified claims of both sides. I'm a little curious about what happens now. Does Trimet go into the hearing and deny this happened? So how do we know who's telling the truth? The only people that have a clear record of deceit are the Trimet executives. We have multiple examples of Trimet executives obstructing flow of information,  flow of money and management abuses)  
“The whole idea behind TriMet’s PR campaign is that the 30-years-in-the-future number has to be reduced. First we have to know that number is legit. Turns out it’s inflated. Second, we need to know the fairest way to reduce that 
(We have never seen any actual breakdown of how Trimet comes up with these numbers. They have thrown out a number and the mainstream media does its bidding by reprinting it over and over. For example how many retirees will be drawing these platinum benefits in 20 years? They have never explained any of it)
“We’ve learned TriMet is overpaying for insurance. We are supposed to pay part of the premiums and have lower benefits. We’ve offered to work together with TriMet to come up with better insurance plans and rates. They refused to even discuss it. (If this is actually true then Trimet should easily lose the arbitration because the level of bad faith dealings is incredible. Trimet, and its mainstream media allies have abused the system violently and have gotten away with all of it because not one person in the media is investigating the union charges)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't ever mess with the rules!!!