Sunday, June 29, 2014

One last mediation, what current and future Trimet retirees stand to lose

In May, TriMet declared impasse and moved the contract negotiations into interest arbitration. Despite doing this, TriMet also agreed to another mediation session. We had that mediation session with TriMet on June 24th.

As you know, the big issue is health care coverage for both active employees and retirees. We were able to show that currently, TriMet pays more for health insurance than every other local government. We also showed that TriMet retirees receive only 32% of their final salary in pension. For those newer employees forced into the defined contribution 401 plan, the percentage is even smaller. Other local public employees on PERs receive 43% of their final salary as pension. We also showed that PERs retirees vest in five years while TriMet employees don't vest in their pension until 10 years. This is a huge savings for TriMet.

TriMet has asked that we mediate over health care for three days the end of July. This is good news. It is good news because, in my opinion, TriMet's health insurance proposal remains totally unacceptable. For 44 years, TriMet management put absolutely nothing in savings to cover its retirement promises to employees. It is indefensible to now expect those employees to take on the burden of 44 years of negligence.(this is called the 1% squashing the 99%, it should be noted that Trimet is not the only government entity that has created this situation)

Below is a list of the health insurance takeaways that TriMet is currently proposing. These takeaways would provide less coverage than that received by other public employees but cost the employees' more. If the parties don't reach an agreement in mediation then we will be going to a hearing before an interest arbitrator--probably in the fall of this year.

In the meantime, I would really appreciate learning of your opinion on TriMet's proposal. Please contact me at

In Solidarity, Bruce Hansen, President, ATU 757

TriMet's Proposal

Active Employees

Increasing actives' premium costs.
Making active employees enroll in Medicare A & B and change their carrier to a retiree carrier.
Increasing employee co-pays from 10% of charges to 20% of charges.
Raising the annual maximum amount employees will have to pay for Regence health care from by $150 for singles, $300 for couples and $150 for families.
Increasing single employee mini-run premiums from 0% to 10%
Eliminating dual coverage for current and future employees

Current and Future Retirees(this proposal buries the current Trimet retirees that are not eligible for medicare if they actually become sick)

Increasing retirees' premium costs to 6%
Increasing retirees' co-pays from 10% of charges to 20% of charges.

Eliminating, from future retiree health insurance, all current active employees who have not ten-year vested as of the contract ratification or interest arbitration award
Eliminating retiree health insurance all active employees hired after 11/30/2012.
Requiring disabled employees i.e. "non-active employees" to immediately enroll in Medicare A & B.
Requiring "non-active employees" i.e. disabled, to enroll in retiree plans rather than in the actives' plans.con
Requiring current non-active employees, retirees and spouse, those previously allowed to remain on the active plans by virtue of their relationship with active employees, to move to retiree medical plans.
Changing retirees' benefits from "substantially" the same as actives' benefits to "reasonably" the same as actives' benefits.  (somebody will have to explain to me what this actually means but its an obvious attempt to degenerate  retiree benefits)
Reducing future retiree benefits from being the same as actives, to single-only coverage with TriMet paying only 50%. (very expensive to retire before 65  )
Eliminating current employees' future pre-65 retiree health insurance for retiree spouses and dependents. (no family coverage for future retirees)

This is a HUGE giveback and current employees should be very concerned about this!


Anonymous said...

When you give up your right to STRIKE you take up the ASS!!!! If binding arbitration was so fucking GREAT all unions would be doing it (Teachers, AFSCME SEIU TEAMSTER)

Anonymous said...

No way Trimet could replace ( Drivers, Light Rail opts, Station Agents, Road Sups, Dispatchers,Mech. with a Strike or a sick out "IF" WE ALL STICK TOGETHER

Anonymous said...

We can not legally strike, but we can stick together and call in sick together. And I'm sure we all could see a doctor, give the doc some bullshit symptoms and get a note to cover our asses.

There are no excuses not to. There is more to lose than a days wages.

I'm ready to do it.

Anonymous said...

hey the BLUE flu is all ways in SEASON :)

Anonymous said...

Exhaustion from being overworked is a legitimate f e m l a excuse to take the required 3 or more days off. Also vertigo and sinus issues caused by bad ventilation is another.

Anonymous said...

Tri met is government slave labor