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The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) has declared an impasse in its contract negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 (ATU).TriMet Executive Director of Labor Relations and Human Resources Randy Stedman said the core issues in the negotiations are wages and health-care costs."We're asking for our union employees and retirees to share in the cost of their healthcare benefits at a level comparable to TriMet's peer transit agencies and with that, we're able to ensure TriMet's fiscal stability for years to come."TriMet declared the impasse after 37 separate contract negotiation sessions since December 2012 and two mediation sessions, agency officials said. Declaring an impasse is the next major step in the strike-prohibited bargaining process, according to state law. TriMet will have several steps to take that can include mediation and binding interest arbitration.TriMet remains open to further mediation with the ATU, Stedman added. The union represents more than 2,100 TriMet employees.