ATU 757 Demands TriMet Management Prioritize MAX Maintenance
Inadequate attention to maintenance puts workers and the public at risk
PORTLAND, Ore. — Yesterday afternoon, TriMet riders started seeing the dreaded and all-too-familiar service alert – “MAX delayed due to a mechanical issue.”
We know that our riders are absolutely fed up with nightmare days on the MAX system. The workers who operate and maintain MAX trains are, too, because we know that one of the things that makes bad MAX days so much worse is TriMet leadership’s failure to prioritize maintenance on trains.
“Our members have been sounding the alarm about maintenance issues for years. What’s TriMet’s senior leadership done about it? Other than leave about 25 mechanic positions unfilled, not a whole lot,” said Shirley Block, ATU 757 President. “We’ve seen the company put trains in service contaminated with mold, with barely-taped and exposed wires, and wheels well past their condemnation dates. Trains are being run for hundreds or thousands of miles past when they’re supposed to be serviced. And TriMet executives’ refusal to listen to our mechanics and take these issues seriously has meant that the agency is consistently failing to meet its own benchmarks for maintenance. This situation is unsafe, unacceptable, and we have to do something before someone gets hurt. Hopefully it won’t take a derailment on MAX to get TriMet leadership’s attention.”
The photos below include just a few examples of those exposed wires and damaged wheels on MAX vehicles. Failure to maintain vehicles causes delays & service disruptions, and it puts transit workers and the public at risk. It’s a perfect example of a management culture at TriMet which routinely ignores safety issues in favor of superficial “on-time performance” metrics. MAX riders deserve better. ATU 757 calls on TriMet executives to finally start listening to the folks who know the MAX system best – the operators, mechanics, and controllers who keep it running every day. We invite TriMet management to sit down with the union and our members to develop a plan to make our MAX system safer and more reliable for riders and workers alike.