I am sure that you have all heard about the recent news coverage taking aim at the health care costs of TriMet union employees. It is never pleasant to have your compensation discussed on the 11 o'clock news. I imagine that some of you may have received criticism from individuals who have heard these stories and are convinced that what you have is unfair.
I am disappointed that the story has been misleading to so many. Rather than go into details about how the story fails to look at the entire picture—and, in fact, it fails to ask the real question about the state of health care in America—I want to give you this message:
We are proud of our employees. We are proud that we have been able to provide them with good medical benefits. We will not bargain our contract with ATU through the news media. The process will happen as it should, at the table with the union and the District bargaining in good faith.
In the coming months, as negotiations begin in earnest, there may be those who will suggest that TriMet employees do not deserve a respectable health care plan. We disagree. We will work with the ATU to arrive at a contract that meets the needs of our employees, and that is responsible and achievable in today's financial climate.
I encourage you to remember that when someone accuses you of being undeserving of something, to carefully consider your response. Nothing will prove your value more than maintaining the respectful manner of a skilled professional. Thank you for your hard work and continued commitment to your customers.