Weekly Update: Tri-Met: No.

ATU to Tri-Met: Let the Process Work

ATU members who work at Tri-Met have been without a contract for a while now. They’re supposed to enter binding arbitration with Tri-Met, but that looks like it won’t happen until some time next year.

In the mean time Tri-Met has decided to impose one-sided changes to the contract on members of the bargaining unit – increasing healthcare costs for many ATU members including increases of hundreds of dollars a month on retirees.

The problem is it’s probably not legal for Tri-Met to institute these one-sided changes, and the past practice at the organization for over 15 years and under multiple General Managers has been to respect the contract until both sides can come to a new agreement.

So ATU President Jon Hunt, at the Tri-Met board meeting today, called on the board to vote to require Tri-Met to change their new policy, notify members that they would not see increased health care costs, and rejoin ATU either at the bargaining table or in front of an arbitrator. Hunt informed the board that he is “committed to do whatever it takes to get it right,” citing recent negotiations with the transit agency in Lane County where they were able to come up with creative solutions that will reduce health care costs without shifting the burden to workers. Hunt pointed out that, with no wellness program and no policies encouraging preventative medicine or healthy choices, there are some easy places for Tri-Met to start saving on healthcare.

At the end of the meeting one board member, Lynn Lehrbach (longtime Teamsters member, Representative and Political Coordinator), called for a vote to put a hold on implementation of any contract changes. None of his fellow board members were willing to second his vote.

In Other News...
More Holiday Shopping Tips: Keeping it Union

New staff members at the Oregon AFL-CIO are always a little surprised by the oath our Board Members take, and the last board meeting was no different. As we head into our winter board meeting , and the holiday season, we’re all thinking about the commitment we should all be making to support our fellow union members whenever possible.

True, it’s not always possible. And true, it’s not always convenient. But we’ll try to make it a little bit easier for you.

If you missed our list of union-made gift ideas and stores to check out you can find it on our website.

As you plan your big holiday meals, you can shop union too. The employees at your local Fred Meyer and Safeway stores are union, and many of the bakers in their in-store bakeries are union members too. Some Albertsons are unionized as well. Bakers who make Franz and Oroweat products are unionized. Local Oregon beef sold at many stores comes through recently-unionized Beef Northwest Feeders – ask at your grocery store. And Oregon Threemile Canyon Farms and Willow Creek Dairy are both union as well. If you’re serving turkey there are lots of union-farm options, including Butterball, and for ham check out Boar’s Head and Black Forest, among others.

Make it a happy holiday season for your family and the families of union members across the country by buying union!

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