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The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 (ATU) will begin mediation discussions on April 8 after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract.On Feb. 4, the 150-day bargaining milestone on the contract was reached without the union and agency leadership reaching agreement on wages and benefits, TriMet officials said in a press release. Agency officials then submitted a request to the state's Employment Relations Board for a state mediator to be assigned to assist in reaching a settlement. TriMet officials are trying to organize more negotiation sessions prior to the start of mediation.The contract expired on Nov. 30, 2012. By law, union members cannot strike. If a settlement cannot be reached, an arbitrator will select one of the party's proposals through binding arbitration for the contract period, TriMet officials said. The core issues remain active and retiree health-care costs.The union represents about 2,100 TriMet employees.
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