Union files OSHA complaint against TriMet

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) alleging that TriMet has begun deploying potentially-unqualified Assistant Managers as bus and MAX operators, putting the public at risk. We’ve received reports that on at least two occasions, these potentially-unqualified managers have operated buses and trains carrying passengers during regular service hours.

As the union said in our complaint to OSHA, “When union members apply to become light-rail or bus operators, they are required to pass all phases of a training program, including a battery of tests which require passing scores for successful completion. Recently, ATU learned that TriMet required certain nonunion Assistant Managers to complete that training; although we learned that at least one manager reportedly failed to complete the program, TriMet maintains that these Assistant Managers do not need to be held to the same safety and certification standards as other employees.”

Safety standards exist to ensure that only qualified operators are driving vehicles. Holding Assistant Managers to a lower standard while putting them behind the controls is an unacceptable risk to public health & safety, and it’s just one more example of TriMet’s executive leadership prioritizing their balance sheets over safety and security. We’ve asked OSHA to open an investigation into this issue to make absolutely certain that the only people operating buses or MAX trains are workers who are fully qualified to do so. The full text of our complaint can be found below:


ATU 757’s complaint to OSHA

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 (ATU) has learned that Assistant Managers in TriMet’s Rail and Bus divisions are operating in-service fixed-route buses and light-rail trains without possessing required licensing. We are concerned that this is putting the public’s safety at risk by putting potentially-unqualified individuals behind the controls of passenger vehicles, and ask OSHA to investigate the situation.

When union members apply to become light-rail or bus operators, they are required to pass all phases of a training program, including a battery of tests which require passing scores for successful completion. Recently, ATU learned that TriMet required certain nonunion Assistant Managers to complete that training; although we learned that at least one manager reportedly failed to complete the program, TriMet maintains that these Assistant Managers do not need to be held to the same safety and certification standards as other employees. Additionally, we’ve learned that these managers will be required to drive passenger vehicles a certain number of in-service hours.

Given the disparity between safety standards, we believe that putting Assistant Managers in control of a bus or train in service is an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.

Several months ago, ATU filed a complaint against TriMet concerning training of management (the Assistant Managers at issue here) to perform bargaining unit work. The Union maintains that classifications found in the contract are duties are only performed by bargaining unit personnel. TriMet directed bargaining unit personnel to train the Assistant Managers to perform work exclusively performed by union members. TriMet’s position is that managers supervise work by union members and they need to be trained to effectively manage. That complaint is pending.

We have received information that in the last week of August, and the first weeks of September, potentially-unqualified Assistant Managers were operating buses and trains in service. Since we are unable to verify the facts of this situation through TriMet, which is choosing not to cooperate in this matter, ATU believes that the public safety is at risk and an investigation into this matter is necessary.

By | 2017-09-19T13:10:23+00:00 September 19th, 2017|ATU 757, Safety - Public, TriMet Bus, TriMet Rail|Comments Off on Union files OSHA complaint against TriMet