Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Brothers and Sisters,
By now, I’m sure you have gotten the proposed compromise in the mail.  And I must say, this has been one of the most interesting so-called negotiations and labor disputes, which I have been a part of.  One of the things that bother me the most is:  WHEN DID WE START FIGHTING BACK?????????? So far I have seen no ultimatums from the union on the issues of labor.  “We” work hard to make the system go, and “our” pockets grow, and “our” futures are influx due to Trimet cutting away “our” benefits, while this union lies down and does nothing.  Filing lawsuit after lawsuit, is only a stop-gap in a labor dispute, it may or may not come out in “our” favor.  The question still remains, “WHEN DID WE ACTUALLY START FIGHTING BACK???????? As I have observed, using the same argument when disproven in front of the Board does nothing but wastes time (although that should be done at every opportunity), and these informationals are a waste time, due to the fact that almost no one is interested in hearing the same argument over and over again, they become disinterested in “our” plight, just look at the last turn out, not many of “us” were there in support of “our” cause, why, “we” don’t see it as going anywhere. For the past eight plus months, I have (and others) have stated that “we” need to go into a different direction, due to this useless tack, “is not” working to change the argument in “our” favor.  That is sad.
I think “our” saving grace is that “we” have BINDING ABERTRATION, if “we” didn’t have that than “we” would have lost a long time ago.  In talking to Brothers and Sisters, I have found out why Trimet says, “They should have the right to strike”, the answer to that is that they could lock “us” out, and bring in First Transit (although service will be disrupted, they would still do it). For those Brothers and Sisters, that don’t know who First transit is, they have control of the lift service out of Beaverton.  Here is their expertise:
First Transit will offer:
What We Offer
Count on First Transit for expertise in:
  • Daily operations
  • Routes and scheduling
  • Fare structure
  • Service standards
  • Budgeting, accounting, and purchasing
  • Safety
  • Insurance and claims
  • Employee selection and training
  • Labor negotiation and relations
  • Equipment and facilities utilization
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Coordination with planning and paratransit agencies
  • Administration office support and supplemental services
Why Contract with First Transit?
With First Transit, you will have more than five decades of experience and professional skills to put to work for your transit operation. We have operated fixed route systems in all sizes and types of cities and municipalities across North America and around the world.
Cost savings: Whether your system is rural or urban, small or large, First Transit provides significant cost savings when compared to in-house operations – without sacrificing quality and world-class customer service. We can help you save in labor, fuel, equipment, or facilities with innovative technology; all while making your system more efficient – and effective. No matter where you are, our coast to coast service and global buying power ensures you’ll save.
Safety: Our goal is to provide the safest, most efficient passenger transportation service possible so bus patrons enjoy a safe, comfortable ride with an operator who is courteous and understanding of their needs. First Transit provides extensive driver training and innovative safety programs that will ensure your fixed route buses operate as safely as possible. First Transit’s parent company, FirstGroup, is honored to be selected by the National Safety Council as the recipient of the 2009 Green Cross Safety Medal, the highest award for safety in North America.
Technological advances: We can customize technology solutions to fit the needs of your fixed route system. Whether you need computerized routing, GPS, automated tracking, passenger counting, onboard wifi or more, First Transit can help. Our advanced technology can optimize routing, tracking and productivity; and could even reduce the number of buses you need to run your system.
Smart maintenance: Our comprehensive, computerized preventative maintenance program works to avoid breakdowns. In turn, this means fewer service interruptions in your daily schedules – and fewer hassles for you, your staff and your customers.
Green credentials: First Transit can enhance your green initiatives and help you start new ones with new technologies, alternative fuels such as sustainable source biofuels, and energy-efficient equipment.
"Since July 1, 2003, the City of Pasadena has contracted with First Transit for dial-a-ride and fixed-route services. The First Transit team has been wonderful to work with and has helped us improve the transit services provided to the community. Working on the schedule times, route changes, public outreach information and operator instructions was truly a team effort between city and First Transit staff; the end result was a seamless service change and fare implementation that was well received by the community and recognized by the City Council."
Catherine Cole, Transit Manager
City of Pasadena, California
With First Transit, you’ll spend less time and money on your fixed route transportation. We can prove it.
With this company on board Trimet can cut wages, benefits, etc.  this can be done, by bringing in outside resources (due to First Transit being huge), use “our” proven system of training and get service up and running in no time. Don’t think it can be done; hopefully “we” won’t be put into this position by “our” paid employee’s negligence.  Still don’t think it can be done, and think that “we” are invaluable, just watch this video on the ED Show on MSNBC (  In this story, the company was in dire straits and the union compromised.  The company survived and made a profit (due to the union’s compromise), then locked them out. BCTGM is the union group in the piece (  In the 5 months of being locked out, the company (Crystal Sugar Company) brought in 700 nonunion employees and locked out all 1300 union workers, and plans to replace them all by the harvesting season.  This is sad.  If they had binding aberration, they may have not been put in a position, which they are.
Binding Arbitration has its good points and its bad, in our case, nothing gets done until the Arbiter chooses “who wins”, until then “we” are under the old contract.  Another couple of good things in Arbitrations are: 
  • Arbitration is often faster than litigation in court.
  • Arbitration can be cheaper and more flexible for businesses.
A couple of negatives in Arbitration are:
·         Arbitration may be subject to pressures from powerful law firms representing the stronger and wealthier party.
·         Although usually thought to be speedier, when there are multiple arbitrators on the panel, juggling their schedules for hearing dates in long cases can lead to delays.
·         Arbitrators are generally unable to enforce interlocutory measures against a party, making it easier for a party to take steps to avoid enforcement of member or a small group of members in arbitration due to increasing legal fees, without explaining to the members the adverse consequences of an unfavorable ruling.
I think it is irresponsible of “our” paid employees, in telling Brothers and Sisters, “The check is in the mail”. Due to the fact, that Trimet has resources to fight “all” claims that “we” have.  On “our” side “we” do not have the resources to fight.  “We” Brothers and Sisters spend annually, over $350.000 in salary and “other expenses” that DOES NOT BENEFITS “OUR” CAUSE, Trimet knows this.  I’m sure some of “you” had heard that the union is BROKE, and talked about MORTGAGING the union hall (although a rumor, who knows the truth).  “We” continue to get nothing but lip service, and it needs to stop.  I’m sure some of “you” are miss-informed, due to the fact that “you” are not given the full truth from the union.  How many times do Brothers and Sisters visit the union web site?  How many look at the union paper, and find NO useful information other than grievance filings (from “our” hard working stewards) and that’s all.  Nothing in there, about “our” day to day struggles. The “paid employees” ignore “our” plight, this has to stop, it gets tiring getting “oh I’ll look into it” comments from “our” paid employees.  I think it’s time that “we” get the message out that “we” need to stand together, in solidarity, because no one is going to help “our” cause.  Maybe it’s time to start “our” own newsletter, because it’s “our” issues that are important to every Brother and Sister, not to be ignored.  Far too long, there has been only about 2-5% of “our” membership deciding the fate of this union, that needs to stop, there should be a majority involved in “all” functions of this union. Far too many times, some of “us” see no transparency in this union, there is a secret society within. “We” get blamed for not requesting in writing (or verbal), information that should be out there for “all Brothers and Sisters” in good standing.  Far too long greed has taken what could be considered “the most powerful” union in the state of Oregon and destroyed “unity” within.
Please pick proposal #1, and gather together and see what “we” can do if “we” put “our” (all of “us”) heads together in “real” solidarity.
Unless "we" are heard, the more "we" will shout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First Transit has *all* of the LIFT contracts (except for vehicle maintenance which is Penske), not just Beaverton.