For Immediate Release: TriMet Causes Further Delay in Contract Arbitration Dispute

TriMet has repeatedly accused the ATU of causing delays in preventing the contract dispute interest arbitration from being held in a timely manner.  Now, once again, TriMet’s failure to comply with the order of the Oregon Employment Relations Board (OERB) has resulted in the contract interest arbitration hearing date being pushed forward to May 14, 2012.


When the parties reached impasse in July 2010, they expected the contract interest arbitration to be held by the end of the year.  When TriMet submitted its final offer to arbitration as required by law, the Union filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the OERB, alleging that TriMet’s proposal violated state law.  That action automatically delayed commencement of the arbitration.  The OERB agreed with the Union and found TriMet guilty of violating the law on September 12, 2011.


TriMet appealed the decision; the OERB upheld its original ruling on November 17, 2011 and ordered TriMet to revise its final offer to conform with the law.  TriMet submitted its revised final offer that, again, did not comply with the order of the OERB and the Union filed a Motion to Compel TriMet to comply.  With the ruling by the OERB still pending, the arbitrator rescheduled the interest arbitration to now commence on May 14, 2012.


The timeline below provides a factual and chronological timeline of events, showing what action has caused the delays.  In addition, the unfair labor practice (ULP) complaints filed by the ATU against TriMet for unilaterally changing the parties’ collective bargaining agreement and retaliation for filing such ULP, are separate issues and have no impact on the bargaining timeline, nor in delaying the interest arbitration.


TriMet/ATU Bargaining Timeline


  • Notice to open and commence bargaining for a new collective bargaining agreement sent to TriMet from the ATU on September 19, 2009.


  • First bargaining session was held on October 22, 2009.


  • Second bargaining session was held on November 20, 2009.


  • Five mediated bargaining sessions were held throughout June and July 2010.


  • Impasse was jointly declared by the ATU and TriMet on July 12, 2010.


  • TriMet and the ATU submitted their original final offers as required by state law on July 21, 2010.


  • ATU files a ULP with the OERB on August 11, 2010, asserting that TriMet violated the law by submitting an illegal final offer to arbitration.  This ULP automatically delayed the commencement of arbitration pursuant to State law.


  • A hearing before OERB was held on May 16, 2011 over the allegation that TriMet submitted an illegal final offer to arbitration.


  • As part of OERB’s order for hearing, the ATU and TriMet mutually selected an arbitrator to commence the contract interest arbitration on January 16, 2012.


  • On September 12, 2011 OERB ruled that TriMet violated ORS 243.672(1)(e) by submitting an illegal final offer to arbitration and ordered TriMet to cease and desist from continued violation of the law.


  • TriMet filed a request for “reconsideration” of OERB’s decision against TriMet on October 3, 2011.


  • The OERB affirmed and upheld its original order against TriMet, denying TriMet’s reconsideration request on November 17, 2011.


  • On November 15, 2011 and because the OERB had not issued its ruling on the issue of TriMet submitting an illegal final offer to arbitration, the ATU requested the interest arbitration be rescheduled to give the ATU adequate time to prepare based on the outcome of the ruling.  The arbitrator rescheduled the interest arbitration to commence on March 14, 2012.


  • TriMet submits its revised final offer pursuant to OERB’s ruling on December 15, 2011.


  • The ATU claims that TriMet’s revised final offer does not comply with OERB’s order and the ATU files a motion to force TriMet to produce a final offer that is in compliance with OERB’s order (Motion to Compel Compliance) on December 16, 2011.


  • The ATU and TriMet submit, per the OERB’s directive, written arguments regarding the Motion to Compel Compliance on January 11, 2012.


  • On January 26, 2012, the ATU notifies TriMet of its intent to seek postponement and rescheduling of the interest arbitration because of no final ruling by the OERB on the Motion to Compel Compliance, and the ATU not knowing what TriMet’s final offer would be going to arbitration.  The arbitrator hears both sides.


  • The arbitrator rules that if the OERB does not render their decision on the Motion to Compel Compliance by February 13, 2012, the interest arbitration will be rescheduled to commence May 14, 2012.


The interest arbitration over the contract dispute between TriMet and the ATU has been delayed because of TriMet’s failure to comply with the law, a ruling repeatedly upheld by the OERB.


For updated information on TriMet’s 2013 projected budget shortfall and the options available to eliminate it, go to



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