A Reply to McFarlane’s E-Mail

Neil,

Thanks for copying me on the email.  Let me say that actions speak louder than words, and when you have words that justify the action taken, then you have a pretty convincing case.

Under the tenure of both Tom Walsh and Fred Hansen, history will prove that both honored the terms of the collective bargaining agreement for months, and sometimes for more than a year until a new agreement was in place.

And, as previously mentioned, after the new arbitration law took effect, Fred Hansen continued to acknowledge his obligation to continue all terms of the existing contract by agreeing to the negotiated wage increase on December 1, 2009, and again picking up all costs of health insurance premiums increases on January 1, 2010, and then wrote about it on the TriMet website.

Here is another problem you have.  The Union has already been notified by some members that they won’t be able to pay for the insurance that you are unilaterally implementing on January 1, 2011.  The unfair labor practice complaint decision on your changing the terms of the contract won’t produce a decision until likely this time next year.  Not lets say you lose.  You have all that money in insurance premiums that you must pay back.  Remember, the arbitration decision is separate, and that could take another year before a decision is rendered.  As you know, the wheels of justice turn slow.

Now take those members who had to drop the insurance because they could not afford to keep the insurance. They, or a family member suffered a castrophic event, and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.  An arbitrator has ruled you violated the law by unilaterally charging members for their insurance.  What is your liability regarding those medical expenses.  And lets say this happens to five members, or ten.

Remember, this is all going to happen before we even sit down to begin the interest arbitration.

Let your legal folks tell you not to worry.  Remember, these guys and gals won’t lose their jobs when this turns out to be a very bad decision on your part.  You certainly should be concerned.

Before things go from bad to worse, as I keep saying like a broken record, I highly recommend you reconsider your position, rescind the unlawful action scheduled for January 1, 2011, agree to all other terms you outlined, and that the Union agreed to in your November 17, 2010, and move on now.  Everyone will be better off or it.

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