Below is the original letter sent to the paper, they edited is so this is the unedited original version:
My name is Steve Harrison and I have been an employee at Tri Met and an ATU 757 member for close to 30 years.
I want to give you a face and name, not just known as an employee or union member. It seems only Tri Met's story is getting out.
Mr. McFarlane (in my opinion) is not passing on the full truth about our wages and medical package. We do have good medical plans but what has been lost is why the members of ATU 757 have these plans. The medical plans were negotiated in lieu of wages many years back. In the early 1980’s we took a 5% wage roll back and have never recovered the loss. What has been overlooked by Mr. McFarlane (and I believe it to be purposely) is the wear and tear mechanics, maintenance workers and operator’s bodies go through during their careers at Tri Met. I know that operators can have severe shoulder and back issues to name a few. As a mechanic I have had knee and hernia surgeries and have had back, wrist and shoulder issues. For these reasons we have fought to maintain our current medical plans. The injuries my co-workers and I have sustained to keep the Tri Met Riders in safe, reliable and professionally operated vehicles will not get better with time.
Our retirement package is also under attack. Personally I will receive medical until I am 65, then a Medicare plan and ½ my wage. I find it disturbing that no one is questing the managerial packages, only the union members are under fire. Fred Hanson left Tri Met after only 11 years service and is receiving over $15,000 a month plus medical plan (which he can afford), not including any other retirement plans he may have, myself, maybe $2,500 after 30 years and social security. The numbers are still out what Mr. McFarlane will take home from Tri Met when he retires.
General Managers come and go and Mr. McFarlane is the fourth one I have worked under. I cannot speak to what the operators and other represented disciplines endure on a daily basis, but for myself and the mechanics I work with, we have toiled keeping busses on the road during bitter snow and ice conditions and searing summer heat. Mr. McFarlane has the comfort and pleasure of a heated/air conditioned room and has not placed his body in harm’s way from the above mentioned conditions. Please don’t get me wrong, I chose this type of work and I take pleasure knowing I have done a job well and have been a part of getting people where they need to go. I also believe we should be compensated as agreed by our contract between the ATU and Tri Met.
Mr. McFarlane and his legal department have attempted to do it his way and ignore the contract between ATU and Tri Met. The ATU has filed a number of Unfair Labor Practices against Tri Met and to date, even after Tri Met’s appeals, have been in the Unions favor proving that Mr. McFarlane and Tri Met upper Management just don’t get it.
ATU Union Member
Tri Met Employee