Thursday, October 16, 2014

The argument AGAINST the Trimet/ATU contract

Vote no on TriMet’s Tentative Agreement
and go to arbitration
The 1985-88 contract between TriMet and ATU 757 was
the biggest loss for union members in the history of the
parties, until now. In addition to many take-aways in the
1985-88 Agreement, members took a 5% wage rollback. A
few months later, management increased their wages by
10%. ( I imagine that if this goes through Mcfarlane will either get a big wage boost or a big bonus)

The current tentative agreement that your union president
is bringing to you for a vote, contains three times the takeaways.
This tentative agreement effectively eliminates
retiree healthcare, a benefit that has put ATU 757 in the
spotlight across the country for more than 40 years.
Your local union president contends that the tentative
agreement is supported by members of the union wage
committee. Ask yourself why names are listed, but no
signatures? Every TriMet contract presented to members
for ratification, for at least the last 30 years, has contained
signatures of union bargaining committee members that
supported the recommendation. Ask your local present
who on the union wage committee supported this tentative
agreement that literally destroys what TriMet members have
gained in the last 40 years.

The union president, Hansen, is reportedly telling members
that they should take this deal because the union would
lose if the contract went to arbitration. First of all, anyone
on the union side that makes a statement like that should
remove him or herself from office. Don’t be scared or
fooled into voting for an unacceptable contract.

Go to TriMet’s website and look at their final offer that was
presented to the arbitrator. Then look at what the union is
trying to sell you as a tentative agreement. Can you tell the
difference? There is none, or if you do find anything, it is
miniscual. So if the union is trying to convince you to take
a deal that is the same TriMet would win at arbitration, then
what kind of deal for members is this? Arbitrating the
contract might wind up with TriMet getting none of its

When you review the tentative agreement, the enormity
of the losses are staggering. Medical insurance, which you
will see further on in this flyer, will be too expensive for
members to afford in later years. Retirees, for the first time
in the local union’s history, are seeing the erosion of their
benefits with the approval of the union. And new
employees, forget it. They will have no insurance when
they retiree.

Look at wages. TriMet Union members have not received
below an average of 3% a year for the past 25+ years. The
tentative agreement you union president is asking you to
approve provides an increase of 1.5% each year of the four
year proposal.

The tentative agreement attempts to entice you to vote for
the agreement by saying a lawsuit settlement will produce
so much money. They don’t tell you how much each
member will receive. Why do you think that is? And what
union president Hansen is not telling you, is that the
union has already won that lawsuit in court and the
court will determine how much union members get!

And look at how they are trying to buy the maintenance
journey-worker vote. In giving TriMet the right to hire
mechanics directly off the street and to fill apprentice
positions without outside hires, TriMet is offering to
increase journey-worker wages by $1.00 an hour if the
contract is approved. And what is unbelievable, is that
union president Hansen is telling you to accept the deal,
that it is good for you!

In case you are finding this hard to believe, read it again.
TriMet will increase wages for less than one-fifth of the
workforce by $1.00 an hour if upon ratification of the
contract, while the other four-fifths of the membership gets
nothing, except to pay more for insurance.

 This is the
union leadership that negotiated your agreement. The
union president wants you to believe it is a good deal for

Now look at the staggering losses in insurance for active,
retired and future employees
Active and Retirees under 65 who were hired before
ratification of this contract
The current contact requires TriMet to pay 100% of the
medical, dental and vision premiums for all employees
(The reason employees have been paying part of the
premium since January 2013 is because state law allows the
employer to pass on any annual insurance increases until a
new agreement has been reached. The Gaba decision did
not change TriMet’s requirement to pay 100%, it only
changed the plan to a 90/10) 

The TA provides for cafeteria
style benefits.

To maintain the current Regence 90/10 plan, employees
will see their cost go from $105.00 (the premium
employees are now paying because of the state law) to
$238.35 for the family. Anticipating these rates to be in
affect through December 2015, when the new insurance
year begins January 2016, TriMet will only pay the premium
cost of what their cost for an 80/20 plan costs.
Using the 2014/2015 increase difference, you would see
your premium for the 90/10 plan to reach or exceed $375
after the first year and to easily exceed $550.00 per month
by the second year using TriMet’s own numbers. And they
are not telling you what the deductibles for this plan will be.

Then as part of the cafeteria plan, TriMet is offering a
80/20 plan which would cost about what you are currently
paying for the Regence 90/10 plan. This plan, though, only
covers 80% of all services received. Have one significant
incident in one year with a family member, and you will
easily be paying more than it would have cost you to stay
on the Regence 90/10 plan. MORE OF A BAD DEAL FOR

And then there is the High Deductible HAS plan in which
TriMet will pay $408.65 a month. The only advice here is
don’t ever get sick. If you do, you will spend whatever you
have accumulated in your HAS account ant them have to
sell your home and/or other assists to pay the bills. THE

TriMet has tried to get the Union leadership to agree to a
cafeteria style plan for the last 40 years and has never
succeeded until now.
Current Retirees over 65 and future retirees hired
before ratification of this contract
For the past 40+ years, every leader of this local
union has vowed to and has protected retired
member benefits from any takeaways until now!

Current retired members over 65 get their medical,
dental and vision for them, their spouse and eligible
dependents, paid 100% by TriMet. No co-insurance,
no deductibles, no premium costs.

Under the Hansen TA, all retirees will begin paying
5% of the premiums for the plans they currently have
paid at 100%. The TA says for the same as current,
but it doesn’t say what the current is. Is there a
deductible? If so, how much?

Then to entice retirees to drop their insurance,
TriMet is offering to contribute a monthly stipend
into a retired person HRA VEBA account. And once a
retiree chooses to drop their insurance, they can
never get it back.

What a ridiculous proposal to even bring back to
members. A lot of our retirees become fragile in the
later years, and to make decisions about their
insurance coverage. To be leered into dropping their
insurance for a small monthly stipend is elder
abuse. The over 900+ 65 and older and 200 pre-65
retirees of this union have trusted and relied on the
leader of this union to protect them and their
families. A lot of these retirees will tell you that if it
had not have been for the union protecting their
benefits over the years. They would have lost
everything they owned as a result of medical bills.
Now the current leader Hansen is endorsing the
reduction and elimination of retired member

Unfortunately, this is being done to them and retired
members have no say or vote on the contract. Win
or lose, retirees need to remember who for the first
time in the history between TriMet and the union,
advocated for their loss of benefits. That is where
the retiree vote will count.

Future retirees who are hired after the contract is
Basically any new hire will be eligible for an $800 a
month stipend to purchase insurance for him, his
spouse and eligible dependents if they can afford to
retire before 65 years of age.
Once the employee reaches 65, whether they are still
working or retired (prior to 65), they get nothing. No
insurance coverage, no stipend.

This contract gives up a benefit that has been given
to TriMet employees when they retiree for over 40
years. In addition to all of the other losses this TA
will produce, this is absolutely disgraceful and

Creating this two-tier, second class member
category in this union will serve as its demise as
more and more members realize what they are being
given as compared to the person working next to

If you vote to accept this tentative agreement that
not only drastically increases the cost of health
insurance for active employees, you are hurting
over 1000 retired members who have no say, and
no vote on the contract.

The rest of the contract contains nothing significant, these
are no cost changes called “fluff”.

By voting to accept this agreement, you are giving up
insurance coverage for new employees, who also
have no voice. In doing so, you will be destroying
what union members had gained in the past 40
years, in one contract.

You paid the special assessment for months. Tell
union president Hansen to pull his head out of
TriMet’s _ _ _ and take this contract to arbitration.
Tell Hansen he should feel embarrassed and
ashamed for being conned by TriMet.

Vote NO on this tentative agreement thus resolving
this dispute through arbitration which has already
been scheduled.

Compare Trimet's arbitration offer HERE!


Al M said...

Now that I understand the issues if I could vote (which I can't which is f*kd) I would vote no.

Given my knowledge of Trimet and its union employees I have every reason to believe this will pass pretty easily.

You can't wake up sleeping people until there is a fire RIGHT IN THEIR ROOM which might burn them.

Oh will go on until it doesn't.

Unknown said...

Well damn, at least there is a counter argument.

Unknown said...

Well damn, at least there is a counter argument.

Max said...

You elected these union leaders, they did their best, and here's what you got. I'm sure that if you would have put in (insert other union leader) instead of Bruce you would have gotten a similar deal.

The national average bus driver salary is $20K (source: My health insurance (I am a software engineer) has 80/20 coverage *and* I pay 20% of the premiums. I believe it carries a $500 deductible. Of course there is no pension, only a 401(k) (they will match 50% of the first 6% you pay in), and certainly no OPEB. If you think my benefits are unusually lousy; I'd point out that my 401(k) plan was rated 3rd best in Portland.

I'd say you guys are still getting a great deal. But if you want to fight it, you're just going to waste everyone's time and money, irritate the hell out of the riding public and GAIN NOTHING.

Sorry it's not as good as it was, but you guys are still coming out WAY ahead.

Al M said...

Yes, 'we' did elect the union leaders.

Now up until last week everybody was under the impression that this was going to arbitration. That was the plan, that was the reason 'we' gave up the right to strike. When the company is trying to strip away all the gains that the union had negotiated for us over the course of years it would be taken to arbitration!

Nobody expected the union leadership to just 'surrender' to the company.

That's point 1, now Point 2

You are making a fatal mistake when you are quoting wages benefits and its this:


Everything you quoted maybe in fact true, but you are quoting the NON UNION LABOR wages and benefits.

As far as WEST COAST transit workers (who are actually paid less than east coast transit workers) Trimet lags. Hell Seattle drivers earn $5 an hour more than Trimet workers. I have followed plenty of transit disputes and contrary to the mainstream media playback of Trimet false propaganda Trimet workers are not 'the best compensated of all the transit workers"

You can't take the comparative wages for NON UNION BUS DRIVERS (which could be anything from airport shuttle to school bus drivers)and somehow relate that to transit unionized labor.

I would think somebody of your advanced intelligence would not be so quick to dismiss the gains that a union had made over the course of years and years just because the rest of the country suffers without the advantage of collective bargaining.

Finally just because 'we' (including me) elected a union president that does not mean that we have to blindly follow them.

I don't blindly follow anyone, I think for myself.

This is a bad deal, the only thing going for the union and Trimet is that their unionized workforce (primarily the drivers) are such an ignorant and self centered group as a whole. No intelligent worker would vote to strip themselves of wages and benefits.

This has a very good chance to pass from the feedback I am getting however. Trimet workers don't seem to remember all the abuse they have suffered at the hands of the company over the last 5 years.

You can't protect people from themselves. It's very similar to people to people who are not actually 'rich' voting for republicans. They vote for the party that ends up destroying them.

If the unionized Trimet labor force votes yes then they have themselves to blame...

AND Trimet will be back in 2016 for more you better believe it. And they will probably roll out the exact same lies and propaganda all over again supported by their mainstream media stooges such as Joe Rose or the Tribune.

Max said...

1) Please explain why it's in the public's best interest to pay you guys so much more (3x? 4x?) than market rate.

That's exactly why you guys lost in arbitration last time, and why you will lose again this time.

2) Please also explain why the public should care whether you guys are represented by a union, or not. Or how your wages compare to other union wages by other transit agencies on the west coast. Why does that matter to anyone but you?

3) At the end of the day, this is an "unskilled job". Wages/benefits for such jobs have gone down over the last few decades, and many such jobs have been eliminated. You guys' wages/benefits have gone down much less than everyone else -- consider that a win for the union.

Working at Starbucks is a pretty tough job too. You know what those guys make? Maybe $20K per year. No pension, no OPEB, and they pay even more for health insurance...and Starbucks is considered to be a *good* employer as far as unskilled jobs go.

It seems hard to gather sympathy for you guys, who work a similarly skilled job, yet are complaining that you're only pulling in 4x-5x as much in wages/benefits.

Al M said...

You keep missing the point! This is a UNION JOB and the wages are set by binding arbitration. Hell longshoreman is an unskilled job yet they get three times the pay as a tri-Met bus driver because of their union! Why should PERS employees retire with 90% of their salary. Why should the public accept that?

Al M said...

And need i remind you bus drivers are responsible for the lives of hundreds of people. It's not 'unskilled'! You're full of shit Max!

Max said...

The public shouldn't accept that either.

It looks like about 1/3 of PERS retirees are making 90% of their employed annual salary as you state, though. The median PERS pension is approximately 62% of annual salary and $25K per year.

Al M said...

What the public 'wants' is of no relevance to anyone especially the oligarchs

Max said...

What the public 'wants' is of no relevance to anyone

You sure about that?

With regard to the essential issue in this hearing, health insurance, or more specifically retiree health insurance, TriMet's Last Best Offer best promotes the interest and welfare of the public. ORS 243.746(4)(a) provides that such consideration shall be given "first priority" by the arbitrator.

Mr. Gaba certainly didn't agree with that line of thinking, and that's precisely why you guys lost in arbitration last time.

Al M said...

The arbitrator is not the public. He is an official appointed by the governmentand like all government officials pretends that the public is important when making decisions. The truth is the opposite of that