TriMet general manager warns of 70 percent service cuts by 2025 if union doesn't budge on health benefits | OregonLive.com
TriMet is enroute to cutting 63 bus lines and 70 percent of service by 2025 without more changes to union health and retirement benefits, the agency’s general manager said Wednesday.
At the heart of TriMet’s contract proposal is a call for union employees to switch to the same health plans as non-union employees, including McFarlane, resulting in what he said would be significant savings.
So Trimet (and Mcfarlane) have somehow convinced the union executives of the validity of his argument as they have conceded to the management demands. So that should be the end of it right?
This is what President Bruce Hansen said at the time:
TU President Bruce Hansen returned a call for comment.
Filled with rhetorical hits, McFarlane's speech appeared to be a response to Amalgamated Transit Union 757's new campaign to sway public opinion.
With negotiations on a new contract expected to rev up soon, the ATU is using revenue from a recent $25-a-month increase in union dues to maintain a website and buy advertising to expose what it says are shifty TriMet management practices.
McFarlane's latest comments underscore why the marketing offensive is needed, said Hansen. "He's blaming the workers for everything," he said. "Why isn't he talking about how irrational management has been with spending?"
The math of McFarlane's predictions of service cuts and budget shortfalls was based on a long list of "assumptions," including no fare increase over the next two years, health-care cost increases of 9.5 percent a year and the growth of Lift paratransit as the population ages.
Given the teetering state of public transit in America, not to mention TriMet's shaky business model and spending habits, several transportation economists said it's not too hard to imagine the agency wasting away.
But far more than a lavish union contract would be at fault, they said.
Hansen said he couldn't take McFarlane's S.O.S. seriously after TriMet recently paid $1.4 million on new office furniture and is spending $9.5 million to renovate the Center Street administrative building.
"Do I think he's being truthful?" he said. "Not at all."
So Bruce all of a sudden decided that Trimet was correct about those 70% cuts?