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TriMet union willing to consider two-year contract extension

The union representing most TriMet workers says it is willing to consider management's offer to extend the existing contract two years.

TriMet made the offer to the Amalgated Transit Union Local 757 in a letter Friday. The current contract ends in November, and TriMet said the extension would include 3 percent salary increases in December 2016 and 2017, and avoid protracted and potentially divisive negotiations.

TriMet Executive Director of Labor Relations and Human Resources Randy Stedman noted in the letter that extending the contract would result in “improved labor-management cooperation and partnership, allow the entire workforce to more fully engage in the exciting new projects the agency has in front of it, and avoid contentious successor contract negotiations.”

In response, ATU 757 released the following statement Monday:

"We have received TriMet's request to extend the contract for two years. Any action on this offer will have to be presented to the membership for approval.

"The Union can not take a position on TriMet's offer until it has been thoroughly reviewed and presented to our membership. We have a number of concerns about the current contract, and need the opportunity to engage our members on possible changes or solutions before we can accept or reject TriMet’s offer. This is something which will be conducted by mail and we appreciate TriMet's offer to cover the costs."

Discussions to extend rather than negotiate a contract would need to conclude within 45 days.