As many of you know, on June 28, 2017, TriMet requested mediation, and the parties will be going to mediation in hopes of coming to an agreement. As of now we have two dates scheduled for mediation: July 28 and August 16.
TriMet’s letter requesting mediation includes some allegations that we would like to address. First, it is true that TriMet offered to roll over your WWA for two years. We sent a survey out to all members employed by TriMet and retirees who would be affected by the WWA. The resounding answer from you was no, and so we did not accept TriMet’s offer. We would also like to remind you that this offer included one 3% increase over the life of the extension. We agree with you that you deserve better.
Second, it is true that we did not agree to meet until the beginning of 2017, as Mr. Stedman’s letter states. As you know, the parties need only negotiate for 150 days before declaring impasse. Having negotiations begin prior to the holiday season would have meant that the parties would not have been able to meet a reasonable number of times, and therefore would be contrary to good faith bargaining.
It is also true that we did not agree to facilitated sessions. You have elected the Wage Committee to represent you at the table, and it is important that they have a chance to do so by sitting face to face with TriMet management and have their voices heard. This type of meaningful and open dialogue is less likely to happen in facilitated negotiations. Furthermore, having a facilitator at each session would be neither time or cost effective.
Finally, it is true that we offered almost 140 contract proposals. That is how many were necessary to attempt to get back what was previously lost.
We are here to fight for you and we will continue to do that. Please contact your Union Representative with any questions concerning negotiations.