These cunning and conniving Trimet executives pretended they wanted to get rid of the binding arbitration.
It was a total fake and in the end it just kinda vanished from the propaganda agenda
It was a political move by a group of executives known for their lying manipulating ways.
But the statement that was made with this fake action was clear.
WE WILL DESTROY YOUR UNION!
And of course these lying cheaters were given a microphone by the virulent anti union Oregonian!
Last week, TriMet's mild-mannered general manager, Neil McFarlane, attempted to grab this region by its collar.
In a speech of extraordinary power and candor, McFarlane warned that TriMet is "slowly strangling from a union contract that desperately needs a reset."
"I know we live in a blue state ... a pro-union city ... so what I'm about to say might make you a tad uncomfortable," McFarlane told the City Club of Portland.
"But decisions that were made over the last 30 years have gotten us to a place where TriMet union members have arguably the richest health care benefits in the U.S."
The coverage for 2,013 active union members requires only $5 co-payments, no premium contributions and no coinsurance. (That's a percentage of covered costs insured employees must pick up after they reach their deductible -- except TriMet union employees have no deductible.) Astonishingly, once union employees reach 55, they are eligible for lifetime health care benefits even if they only started working at 45.
But TriMet's health care jackpot for individuals comes with a high price attached: the health and future of the agency.
Sure, an uptick in the economy and the payroll tax would improve TriMet's situation. But by 2020, if nothing changes, TriMet expects to spend more than half of its basic payroll tax revenues on employee and retiree medical costs. (It is already spending 29 percent.) What to do?
The transit union could almost unilaterally hit the reset button. But no one expects that to happen -- not without a concerted push by the new president of the TriMet board of directors, Bruce Warner. He needs to reach out to union members and rekindle their trust.
Warner needs to help them see that the agency and its bus and train operators and mechanics have a common cause with the agency and the public. All stand to gain from recalibrating the union contract and putting TriMet back on track.
Gov. John Kitzhaber has already helped by reinvigorating TriMet's leadership, but now the governor must keep the pressure on. And even though it likely can't happen in this session, Kitzhaber also needs to pursue legislation to make transit operators no longer subject to binding-interest arbitration, a process that tends to polarize and paralyze -- just when speed and moderation are imperative.
Transit advocacy groups are usually quick to speak up when anything jeopardizes riders. And that's exactly what this union contract does. The advocates need to bring pressure to bear on the union leadership, too.
To be sure, the face that TriMet turns outward toward the nation is still a shiny one, reflecting the agency's stellar reputation. But that visionary TriMet image is conjoined with an operational side headed sharply, steeply downward.
In response to McFarlane's SOS, the leaders of this state, this community and the union need to come to the rescue and interrupt TriMet's fall.
The entire region rides on this. Union Busters Site Here