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Rail News: Labor

TriMet proposes two-year extension of union contract, recognizes top operators

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) has offered to extend its current contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 757 for two years. The pact includes the same 3 percent wage increases in the current contract, which expires Nov. 30.

The raises would take effect in December 2016 and 2017. Nationally, wage increases at transit agencies have averaged "well below" the 3 percent mark, said TriMet Executive Director of Labor Relations and Human Resources Randy Stedman in a letter to the ATU.

However, TriMet has opted to keep the increases because union-represented employees have provided an "outstanding level of service" to customers, Stedman said.

In addition, all current wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment now in effect would be rolled over into the new agreement.

"TriMet believes its represented workforce is favorably positioned compared to the market," Stedman said.

He also invited the ATU to participate in a labor-management meeting to discuss extending the contract. As both parties are actively preparing for upcoming negotiations, discussions to extend rather than negotiate a contract would need to conclude within 45 days from the issuance of the letter.

The ATU Local 757 represents 2,400 TriMet employees, including rail and bus operators, mechanics, trainers, maintenance workers and dispatchers.

Meanwhile, TriMet honored Jeffery Evans as its MAX light-rail operator of the year. He began his career at TriMet in 1991 as a bus operator and switched to MAX in 1998.

The agency also inducted six rail and bus operators into the "Million Mile Club," which honors operators who have exemplary safety records and provide outstanding customer service.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/26/2016