Blog coverage sponsored by Drive Less Connect, ODOT’s sweet new ridesharing site.)
Portland Afoot’s 10-minute newsmagazine for June is devoted to one man: arguably the most important person to the future of public transit in Portland.
Thing is, we don’t know who he is yet. He’s the next president of TriMet’s union, one of the biggest and most successful transit unions in the country – Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. The union’s vote-by-mail election started last week and ends June 15.
After three years of internal cuts and increasingly public criticism, TriMet managers frequently tell the public that the union holds responsibility for future service cuts. Many union members, meanwhile, feel helpless amid what they see as unjust vilification that seems to have gone unanswered in public by their current president – who unexpectedly chose last month to run for vice president instead. (Al Margulies, a tireless ATU member and former driver, broke this story on his blog.)
Not even the regional labor press covers union elections. They can be ugly – thick with rumor and interpersonal venom. But they’re also based on a beautiful idea: that workplace disagreements get even uglier when they aren’t aired. That the answer to workplace problems is workplace democracy.
On our website today and in the monthly issue going to subscribers next week, we’re sharing our interviews with each of the three leading candidates for this private, hugely important office: