(this was a reply to the re-posting of a 'Brainstorm' article)
@PortlandAfoot furthermore I wonder how many 6 figure executives Sassy Cab had.
I've seen this article before and its very interesting and seems mostly good with the facts with some obvious exceptions typical of 'right wing think tanks' What is the purpose of right wing think tanks? To promote corporate philosophy. And what is the #1 issue for corporations and their owners? LABOR COST! Labor cost means wealth that the owners will not receive. We see the usual misstatements which which Trimet itself incorporates into its anti union battle ->"The total cost of all fringe benefits was 60 percent of payroll in 2001 and 65 percent in 2002; they are likely to exceed 70 percent in 2003. In essence, employee benefits are rapidly cannibalizing the general fund budget.<-.
This is a highly misleading notion and plays to peoples emotions. The 'benefits' are not much different from any decent employers in reality. And they count 'EVERYTHING' into that figure including workers comp, unemployment tax, etc when calculating the benefits. The only cost that has soared 'out of control' is the Blue Cross Blue Shield family health insurance. That last year I worked at Trimet the company paid $1600/mo and I paid $200/mo And that is in reality is not TILL DEATH DO YOU PART as the propaganda is fond of regurgitating. It's until medicare. The fact that Trimet even provided for decent health care for its employees based on the European model was something they should be congratulated for not ashamed of. Mcfarlane speaks of it as a huge blunder by Trimet. How far we have fallen as a society.
The article is critical of Tom Walsh, He was only there a few years into my employment but he was very well liked and had good relations with the union. I believe under his leadership Trimet attained BEST TRANSIT DISTRICT in America rating.
Under Fred Hansen's leadership, a master manipulator, there were 2 light rail lines introduced and the WES. That is when bus routes began getting cut in favor of the light rail operations. Fred did not want controversy under his leadership, especially disputes with the union. Employees were mostly happy under his leadership, including myself. He wanted no snafus on the rail projects while they were being built and operated. So the union blue cross can was kicked down the road. And out of nowhere Fred created his "transit guru' meme. He had never done one thing in transit till Trimet. Now he is in Australia peddling his schtick to Australian tax payers. He escaped all the negativity that is Mcfarlane's cross to bear. I remember hearing that the 'union issue' would not be dealt with until the green line opened. He walked out the door with accolades by all the executive staff including the union president Hunt and a nice fat pension of $16,000 a month. (funny how there is no outrage about that. His pension was not regulated by PERS but negotiated and approved by the sock puppets)
Hansen's departure and Mcfarlanes rise was a pre planned event. The sock puppets pretended to do a national search "in the interest of public relations" but the job was Neal's before they started wasting peoples time with that charade. Mcfarlane took to the union busting schtick like a fish to water it appears. He has no problem endlessly repeating the same propaganda and I consider him nothing but a shameless careerist. Years of the management incompetence is laid off publicly as a 'union problem'.
The reality of the Trimet situation from my point of view is that Trimet expanded beyond its ability to maintain service hence cuts in bus service that began long BEFORE the misnamed 'great recession' occurred. The 'union benefits' (translation Blue Cross health care) maybe a problem but not THE problem. Trimet expansion has created the problem as expansion exceed revenues even after the service cuts and fare increases.
The unfunded union employee pensions is another topic completely. This is management and governance malfeasance at its worst. Interestingly the management pensions are funded more than 50%. Of course the managers don't want to gamble with their own pensions, just the workers pensions. Their behavior is criminal.
The management at Trimet is attempting to 'cash in' on the worldwide movement to destroy unionized workers. It is a documented FACT that unionized workers get higher pay and benefits than non union workers. The worldwide movement against unions is financed by the banking/corporate structures and its goal is to bring all first world workers in line with the "market". (a very misleading and destructive notion) China is the oligarchs dream labor force. The truth is as the rich are getting richer and richer, there is no way to quench their thirst for even more wealth. The wealth can only come to them by removing wealth from the working class. The lower classes fight amongst themselves for the crumbs left by the Oligarchs. (try getting a job now)