From Portland Afoot
As the only remaining top executive at either TriMet or ATU 757 who negotiated the TriMet-ATU 2003 contract, Hunt faces pressure from his members to protect as many of their relatively generous benefit provisions as possible in the union's new contract process.
Hunt said in May 2010 that he expected the TriMet-ATU contract negotiations to head to federal mediation, then arbitration, and not to finish until fall or winter 2010. He conceded that because union members continue to receive cost-of-living increases even after the contract's term has ended, the union has little incentive to hurry into the next contract, which may turn out to be less generous to workers.
 Positions on workers' wages and benefits
Hunt believes that TriMet workers' relatively generous health and retirement benefits are just, because he said evidence has shown that bus drivers are under as much physical stress as a firefighter or police officer racing to a disaster site.
"There's a reason why they let a firefighter and a police officer retire at 50," Hunt said in May 2010. "Their bodies get worn out."
He said the union had sacrificed wages in order to win and keep top-notch benefits in its contract.
"We positioned ourselves in negotiations for probably 20 years on protecting those benefits," Hunt said.
 Ideas for improving workers' health and lifestyle
Hunt, who said in May 2010 that he had "recently lost about 45 pounds," conceded that many members of his union are physically unhealthy.
In part, he said, this is because operators' working conditions aren't suited to healthy food or exercise.
"We're plagued with diabetes type II, obesity," Hunt said. "They don't have a place to heat up their steamed vegetables if they want to, but their quick hot dog and Snickers bar?"
Hunt said the agency's budget would also benefit by giving workers better access to health clubs.
"There's one center, at TriMet, that's a halfway decent facility," Hunt said. "But most people don't want to end their day sweating next to their manager or supervisor. ... We would serve better at 24-hour Fitness or something."
Still, Hunt said, union contracts' generous health benefits have "insulated our members a bit" from the effects of their lifestyle choices and hinted that future contracts might give members incentives to stay healthy.
"Maybe you've got to go get your teeth cleaned twice to keep your benefit," Hunt said.
 Transportation policy positions
Hunt said in 2010 that his main policy goal as president of a transit union is to persuade the federal government to increase its support for the operating costs of mass transit as well as its capital costs.
"It's absurd that we have all these federal dollars to buy all this shiny new stuff and it's going to be sitting somehwere," Hunt told Portland Afoot at the time. "It takes a little energy to get from point A to point B."
Hunt said that though he'd been disappointed by the expensive, under-used WES heavy rail project.
"Somebody needs to recalculate where do we go" on WES, Hunt said in May 2010. "That thing started bad from the beginning."
Hunt said he was also skeptical of some bike transportation projects in the Portland area, including use of the city's water-sewer budget to build bikeways protected by rain gardens.
 Professional life
After leaving the Marine Corps in 1994, Hunt chose to get a job at TriMet rather than return to a career on the railroad.
"I was actually drawn to the decent benefits and working conditions. So I took a pay cut, became a mini-run operator" on a TriMet bus in 1995, Hunt told Portland Afoot in May 2010.
Later that year, Hunt moved to TriMet's maintenance department, where he worked as an apprentice and journeyman mechanic. He ran successfully for vice president of ATU 757 in 2001 and helped negotiate the worker-friendly 2003 contract before advancing to president in 2005.
In 2010, Hunt served as one of 10 vice presidents on the executive board of the Oregon AFL-CIO.
As ATU 757 president, according to the union's bylaws, Hunt earns 6 percent more per month than the top-paid ATU 757 contract worker. The top pay bracket among TriMet's unionized employees, a computer technology specialist, earned $39.24 in 2006, or $81,619 for a standard 2,080-hour year. That bracket has since risen with the contract's cost-of-living increases.
According to ATU 757's 2010 report to the U.S. Department of Labor, Hunt earned salary of $105,143 from July 2009 to June 2010. His total compensation for the period, including disbursements for official business, was $126,562.
 Drunken driving charge
On Dec. 26, 2010, as reported by The Oregonian, Hunt was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated in a 2003 Ford registered to ATU 757. (The union's bylaws provide that it "will provide an automobile and insurance for the president-business representative.")
After pulling up behind Hunt at a red light at the corner of Southeast 181st Avenue and East Burnside Street at 10:30 p.m., The Oregonian reported, a Gresham police officer discovered that Hunt was asleep at the wheel. The paper reported that Hunt's blood alcohol level was measured at 0.14 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.
"I made a mistake," Hunt told The Oregonian Jan. 1. "I blame no one but myself. I've pledged to continue to work hard for this great union."
Under Oregon law, a first-offense DUII is punishable by the 90-day suspension of a driver's license after a temporary 30-day driving period.
 Personal life
Hunt was born Dec. 1, 1970, and grew up in Vancouver, Wash. His father, Bill Hunt, served as an executive board officer for ATU 757 late in his own career.
"I started out as a kid going to union picnics and listening to union business at the kitchen table," the younger Hunt told Portland Afoot in May 2010.
Jonathan Hunt's sister-in-law Katherine Hunt works in a communications role with ATU 757.
Did you find this page useful? Could it get better? You're meeting Portland Afoot in its toddlerhood! You can help build this free online guide to low-car life in PDX by clicking "edit" in the right sidebar and adding what you know. Or just leave your questions or ideas below. Thanks for visiting!