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Risk of labor stoppage looms over TriMet

The Columbian
Published: October 12, 2010, 12:00am

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rumors of a work slowdown or a sickout continue to swirl around TriMet and its drivers as the relationship between the transportation agency and union members sharply deteriorates.

The Oregonian reports that the rumors point to a work slowdown or drivers calling in sick on Wednesday. Union members have been working without a contract for nearly a year and are angry about new health care costs. And two weeks ago, the agency announced that union employees need to start paying into their benefits.

TriMet has never faced a strike or work slowdown and it contends that it wouldn’t be able to handle such scenario. In Oregon, it’s been illegal since 2007 for transit employees to strike.

TriMet’s executive director, Shelly Lomax, sent a letter to the Amalgamated Transit Union 757, saying she’d been informed of the slowdown. Soon after, union president Jonathan Hunt wrote back saying any slowdown has not been sanctioned by the union.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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