TriMet Workers to Testify at Oregon Senate Hearing

TriMet Workers to Testify at OR Senate Hearing on Threat to Service, Safety, and Jobs as TriMet’s plans to Eliminate Apprenticeships, March 23, 8 AM PT

Union calls for passage of SB 670 to ensure apprenticeships are mandatory subject of collective bargaining, Senate briefing can be watched live here

Portland, OR – Calling TriMet’s plan to eliminate their 40-year apprenticeship programs a threat to service, safety, and jobs, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 757-Portland, OR members will testify on Tuesday, March 23 at 8am before the Oregon Senate Committee on Labor and Business to urge passage of SB 670 to ensure apprenticeships are mandatory subject of collective bargaining.

Through COVID-19, forest fires, and civil unrest, Local 757 members have been bravely reporting to work to provide critical transportation to Portlanders despite working on an expired contract. Rather than treating them like frontline heroes, their employer, TriMet, has now threatened in negotiations to eliminate its apprenticeship programs.

For the past 40 years, TriMet’s registered apprenticeship programs have proved to be a valuable pipeline to produce  productive, well-trained, and talented workers to ensure the safety and quality service for the riding public. These programs also allow workers to climb career ladders and earn wages and benefits to support their families while continuing to increase their skills. 

Rather than negotiate with Local 757 to make needed changes to the program, TriMet management has taken an “all or nothing” approach. The union believes that TriMet Director of Employee and Labor Relations Laird Cusack is rushing to eliminate apprenticeships before the legislature can act and before new management assume control of the process. TriMet has just hired a new interim General Manager, Sam Desue, and TriMet’s anti-apprenticeship Board President, Bruce Warner, is preparing to depart the agency in June after overstaying his final term by more than a year. 

Meanwhile legislation is pending in both the Oregon State Legislature and the U.S. Congress either mandating or encouraging a full conversion from diesel to electric transit buses within the next few years. This will require a massive undertaking to provide the training necessary to the workers at TriMet who will be responsible for providing preventive maintenance and repair on these cutting-edge vehicles to keep Oregonians safe. 

SB 670 would simply include matters concerning apprenticeship or training programs administered by TriMet as a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.

WHAT: TriMet Workers to testify at OR Senate Hearing on Threat to Service, Safety, and Jobs as TriMet plans to Eliminate Apprenticeships and Outsource Maintenance

WHEN: 8:00 am PT on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 

WHO: 
Jamaine Gibson, ATU Workforce Development Coordinator
Kevin Kinoshita, ATU Local 757, TriMet apprenticeship graduate
Kerry Montgomery, ATU Local 757, TriMet apprenticeship graduate
Chris Tyson, ATU Local 757 and TriMet apprenticeship candidate

WATCH: 
Click here to watch the livestream

TriMet Apprentice Senate Hearing PDF

By | 2021-03-22T17:20:19-07:00 March 22nd, 2021|ATU 757, TriMet Bus, TriMet Rail|