The leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union 757 allege that TriMet is breaking the law by freezing wages and mandating that union members pay into the cost of their healthcare. It's against the law for the transit operators to strike.
Scott Doggett, a bus mechanic, was waving an American flag and complaining about the new healthcare costs. "A lot of people have started over at this place for a good retirement," says Doggett. "TriMet wouldn't be in this mess if they didn't build stuff they couldn't pay for."
Buses and trains chugging down Fifth Avenue in front of the protest honked in support of the protesters. The protest started at 7, participants said, with as many as 200 or 300 people out there before it thinned out just before 9, when a bunch of people went upstairs to the board meeting.
TriMet is in a politically vulnerable position right now—voters are considering their $125 million bond measure on the November ballot.
—Denis C. Theriault contributed reporting