TriMet-ATU labor contract one step closer to ratification


TriMet’s Board of Directors today unanimously approved the tentative agreement on a new contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. The last contract expired on Nov. 30, 2012.

Key features of tentative agreement
Tentative agreement was reached following 37 negotiation and eight mediation sessions. The tentative agreement calls for active and retirees to pay more of the cost for their healthcare and includes annual wage increases for 2014 and 2015. Under the agreement, ATU members will pay five percent of the premiums for healthcare costs if they choose the 80/20 PPO or $10 co-pay HMO plans and 5 percent of the dental plan costs. Under the previous contract, employees paid no portion of the premiums.

• Four year contract (Dec. 1, 2012 to Nov. 30, 2016).
• No retroactive wage increases; 3 percent increase on Dec. 1, 2014 and Dec. 1, 2015. All journey level workers will also receive a $1/hour increase immediately following ratification of the agreement.
• Healthcare for active employees: TriMet’s contribution is capped with the agency contributing an amount equal to 95% of the premium for the 80/20 plan. TriMet also will offer the current union 90/10 plan with the employee paying the difference in premiums and a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with TriMet contributing the difference to a Health Savings Account (HSA) account.
• Retiree healthcare: employees hired after the ratification of this agreement no longer will be eligible for post-65 healthcare insurance coverage and also will be limited to a $800/mo. stipend for pre-65 retiree coverage with which they can purchase insurance through TriMet or have the stipend deposited into a Retiree Health Reimbursement Account (RHRA).
• Direct hires: TriMet will now be able to hire up to half of the positions filled for each apprentice program annually from directly from outside the agency. TriMet also will be able to hire up to 5 journey workers annually from outside the agency. The current contract only allows promoting employees from internal positions.
• The settlement would end legal challenges related to contract negotiations pending in the Court of Appeals and four ULP charges (two by each party) pending before the Employment Relations Board.

Next steps
The tentative agreement must be ratified by ATU members. Their ballots are due on Friday, Oct. 24. If ratified by both parties, the contract goes into effect immediately.