Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Roberts ruled Thursday that bargaining sessions between TriMet and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 are not covered by the Oregon Public Meetings Law.
Although this means that the sessions over the next labor contract are not open to the public as a matter of law, both sides may agree to invite other attendees. TriMet and ATU 757 have both stated their their desire to have the news media attend and report on the sessions. They have not yet agreed on the list of media representatives, however.
ATU 757 had initially argued the sessions were open to the public and TriMet disagreed. The two sides went to court to resolve the issue. Union officials agreed to begin negotiating before the ruling was issued, however.
According to TriMet, the regional transit agency and the union are currently considering dates in July for the sessions to begin.
ATU 757 members are currently working under a contract imposed by an arbitrator. Although it expired last year, it remains in effect until a new one is adopted.
ATU 757 has challenged the imposition of the contract before the state Employment Relations Board. No ruling has yet been issued.