Both active and retired employees of TriMet, who are members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, will conduct informational picketing at Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union Building, Room 329 where the TriMet Board of Directors will meet on November 10, 2010 at 9am. The Union wants to raise public awareness of the current contract dispute between TriMet and the Union, TriMet’s failure to include the Union in dealing with serious safety concerns raised by employees, and why a shortage of drivers has caused huge amounts of overtime in order to keep service on the streets.
“While the contact dispute is currently main stage, there are other serious issues that TriMet is failing to adequately address. These concern major safety issues and operator overtime,” says Jonathan Hunt, president of the ATU.
TriMet created a task force to investigate public concerns over safety issues plaguing the transit agency, but the Union claims it has been left out of the process. “We believe that the recent report on safety by the task force is a whitewash and fails to disclose major safety problems at TriMet,” claims Hunt.
The other issue is the salaries of some bus drivers at TriMet and the recent report in the Oregonian about a driver making over $100,000 a year. “Because TriMet has not hired bus operators in the past year, the only way TriMet can get service on the street is to rely on operators to work overtime. TriMet’s failure to defend drivers against these unwarranted and one-sided attacks is just another example of their lack of transparency in dealing with the public,” says Hunt.