ATU Local 757, Portland, OR

TriMet's GM Neil McFarlane
Still Doesn't Get It

TriMet continues to blame the Union and the Union leadership for their inability to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the Union. TriMet continues to blame the Union for delaying the arbitration process, claiming the Union has deliberately postponed the contract dispute from being heard by an arbitrator. TriMet claims the law that prohibits transit workers from striking should be repealed, because it is to blame for the delay. Then TriMet has their friends at the Oregonian and The Portland Tribune run anti-worker, anti-union stories and editorials.

And the blame continues. The newspapers called on the Governor to change members on the TriMet Board. They called on the Governor to replace members of the Oregon Employment Relations Board. They called on Union members to change their leadership. They blame everyone except those responsible.

The contract dispute would have been heard and decided by an arbitrator in 2010, had it not been for TriMet breaking the law.And that is not just an allegation, it is a fact. In September 2011 the Oregon Employment Relations found that TriMet violated the law when it submitted proposals to arbitration that were not presented during negotiations. TriMet appealed the ruling and lost. Then, TriMet refused to comply with the order of the Oregon Employment Relations Board and again on February 16, 2012 was ordered, once again, to submit a contract proposal that complied with the law.

Now why didnít members read about this in the Oregonian and The Portland Tribune? Because they wonít print it! If the truth and facts were reported, then TriMet management would be exposed. They would be exposed for their mismanagement. They would be exposed for the fact that they violated the law, and that the taxpayers will pay for their mistakes. What will it take for the true facts to be told? Donít expect it to come from the Oregonian and The Portland Tribune.

To show how disconnected TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane is from what is going on around him, he stunned spectators at the recent TriMet Board meeting held on February 22, 2012 when he responded to the Unionís claim that TriMet could save 7 million dollars by bringing the paratransit operations in-house. After claiming that the 2008 Lift audit performed by Lauka and Associates, Certified Public Accountants was flawed, even though he had no involvement in the conduct of the audit, McFarlane shocked the audience when he said:

ďI would also note that if these Lift employees became TriMet employees, they would be subject to the same strike prohibited status as the rest of the TriMet workforce and we know that has not produced a timely resolution to the negotiation processĒ.

What did McFarlane say? He said that the negotiation process would work better if the employees had the right to strike. Not concerned about disrupting transportation services for the most vulnerable citizens we serve, but focused on blaming the negotiation process on the strike prohibited law.

As stated in the title of this article, Neil McFarlane still doesnít get it!

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