TriMet and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 have agreed to meet this Saturday, April 27, to negotiate ground rules for successor contract negotiations. TriMet remains committed to a ground rule that allows the mainstream media to attend and report on all substantive bargaining to keep the public informed about the process. This is one of the ground rules that must be negotiated between the parties at Saturday’s initial meeting. Negotiations over ground rules will not be open to the press.
TriMet has offered 29 substantive proposals. There are a number of housekeeping proposals, such as correcting spelling and punctuation errors, and incorporating existing side agreements into the main body of the contract that do not change the wages, hours, benefits or working conditions of employees. TriMet provided its proposal to the ATU and to the public via www.trimet.org/newcontract on November 30, 2012. The ATU has not released its proposals.
TriMet still faces a future of service cuts and fare increases if the agency does not win the appeal by the ATU of the arbitration award granted to TriMet last July. And, if additional reforms are not made in the upcoming contract, TriMet will face a $19 million service crisis beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 that grows more extensive every year. TriMet is also on a path to pay 47 percent of its base payroll taxes to active and retiree health care benefits by FY2020 if the status quo is maintained.