During our safety meeting with TriMet this month, I learned of an additional resource for members who have suffered some type of trauma in their lives. Her name is Malia Vasquez, and she is the trauma support program director at the Center for Trauma Support Services (CTSS). Malia provides direct trauma services and support to individuals who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events. Her team is dedicated to understanding how trauma impacts individuals, groups, and communities. CTSS works with people to help bring about healing and recovery from those experiences. I am working on setting up a time that Malia can present to our executive board, learn about the experiences of our members, and eventually meet our members.
Now that we have Christian Grand (in house counsel), we have opened several of our contract negotiations early. We will open TriMet negotiations early with two full days beginning Dec. 18-19, continuing Jan. 3-4. On Jan. 8, we will be requesting dates from Labor Management of Valley Transit in Walla Walla for early opening of their contract.
We are still working through negotiations with Canby and Tillamook. Tillamook is in hot water with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We will be monitoring this situation closely.
A few of our smaller properties are really having hiring struggles. We received reports that TransDev in Salem was having supervisors and dispatchers drive buses almost daily. I had a meeting with their Regional Vice President Scott Transue to inform him that this practice is unacceptable. I told him that they need to make the same arrangements made in Bend with the drivers in Salem if he wants to improve the hiring and retention rate. He agreed to research it and follow up with us.
We also met with C-Tran to let them know having their supervisors go out and drive a para-transit route is a “NO GO!” Pay double-time for the operators who want to come in or are forced to drive until the new operators are out of training and ready to work.
We just got a wage increase for our Bend-area drivers and a bump in their longevity pay. This happened just in time as they prepare to enter the holiday season.
I would also like to give a big shout out to LTD officers for working hard to get the MOU signed for the Materials Management Department. It was nice to see that it was rolled back to an effective start date of July 1, 2023.
There is a huge problem in OCC with the new security desk opening. Communication is everything — or should I state in this case, lack of communication. I have received several emails from folks asking what they are to do or what channel they should be working on. People working in the field are also asking these questions. Employees in that department are also noticing that their work is being given away to contracted people. Things like this happen when management positions are filled with folks from outside of TriMet who lack experience working with unionized positions.
Let me drop another bombshell that those sneaky devils are doing. Most people haven’t forgotten about Region 1 getting laid off when COVID hit. Well, I found out that TriMet has contracted with an outside company called UZURV to provide paratransit transportation, and already has 144 drivers being brought on with plans to add more, according to a lift service driver we spoke with. This act by TriMet leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Sam Desue, what are your people doing for the Region 1 folks who were laid off? I am calling you out on this.