The following is in response to a recent article written by and posted by General Manager Neil McFarlane on the TriMet website:
General Manager McFarlane’s article reflects the age-old mentality of “let’s balance the budget on the backs of the employees.” TriMet obviously wants to maintain a level of service that the taxpaying public will not support. So the solution for McFarlane, is to claim that the employees make too much and have too good of benefits. This attitude discounts the fact that employees have bargained pay and benefits for over 100 years with TriMet and it’s predecessors.
Now, McFarlane expects the employees to give up the gains they have made during that time. Why, because the public won’t
cough up the money to maintain the level of service TriMet wants to continue providing, so the employees that make the system work have to pay for it. Yeah, now that is an easy way out…isn’t it? TriMet wants employees to go back to the pay and benefit levels of some 20 years ago, that the employees should understand and be happy to do it. And then, of course, 20 years from now, when TriMet finds themselves in the same situation, they will be back again with their hands out, asking for more concessions. You know what the solution to the problem could be? Just give up our collective bargaining rights
and let the employer out of the goodness and kindness of heart, determine what our pay and benefits should be. Now that’s
a novel idea, isn’t it?
Article written and posted on TriNet by General Manager Neil McFarlane:
I feel like I need to say this again. With nearly 20 years of my life dedicated to TriMet, I fully appreciate how much our ATU represented employees do, and how hard their jobs are. I am not anti-ATU, I grew up in a union household, but more than anything, I am PRO TriMet. If TriMet thrives, we all thrive. When the last ATU contract was signed just over 7 years ago, medical insurance costs were about 12% of underlying payroll tax. This includes active and retiree costs. Now it is
about 32%. In 10 years, with no change it will be about 62%. How can we possibly convince our taxpayers and riders of our value to the region with stats like that? There is a different path. TriMet management and the ATU leadership working together to reduce health insurance costs, improve wellness, get the incentives to support that (yes, that means financial incentives for us all), and in the end we will be a healthy model agency, able to grow our service to the region, while retaining excellent benefits – just not the ‘same old’ benefits.
Best to you all,