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Letter to the Editor

Salary bump at odds with TriMet's pledge of sustainability

The recent News-Times article reporting that Trimet's union workers will be awarded a 3 percent wage increase retroactive to June 1, 2011, and a 2.9 percent increase starting June 1 this year was not surprising.

This is how public employee unions rule Oregon. They give hefty campaign donations and organize strident volunteers to get their favorite politicians elected.

Then when it's time to renegotiate the union contracts, those same politicians make sure the unions are rewarded. And the cycle continues with every election.

Oregon's political elite love to use words like 'sustainable.' Well, when the economy shrinks and unemployment rises, state tax revenues go down. It's not 'sustainable' for TriMet union worker salaries to go up when the tax revenues that pay those wages have gone down.

In the real world, when profits go up, workers get a raise, and when times are tough, workers get cut or get a pay freeze. As a taxpayer paying for public services, why should I pay bus drivers 3 percent more when we're cutting school days and police patrols?

The only way to fix our budget deficits is to cut the link between unions and politicians. Either eliminate public employee unions, or outlaw campaign contributions from unions to politicians.

Public employee unions serve no purpose but to enrich government workers at the expense of taxpayers.