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TriMet and its union keep getting angrier at each other

As reported by Al Margulies Friday, TriMet’s top boss seems to have put a price on the agency’s labor negotiations: $10 million next year in further cuts unless the agency’s managers get their way in a new contract.

Meanwhile, union Secretary-Treasurer Evette Farra writes in her column for ATU Local 757‘s newspaper: "right now, Neil McFarlane turns my stomach." According to Margulies, she accuses the top TriMet boss of "lying" to union leaders, first saying TriMet’s wage and benefit freeze was a hardball negotiation tactic, then saying it wasn’t.

In other words, the gritted-teeth memos may be over, and the spitting and yowling may have begun. That’s bad for riders, who have two cats in this fight. We don’t want poorly compensated operators – a bad bus driver can make a bus ride terrible – but TriMet simply can’t afford to keep its retirement promises without destroying service levels.

The longer this fight runs, the deeper both of our problems are going to get.

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