Fact Check Update: Meal and Breaks Side Letter

On August 22, 2016, TriMet and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) settled the issue of meal and break periods. In 2005, both parties signed a meal and break period agreement that ensured that bus and MAX operators have adequate break times built into schedules. However, earlier this year, the ATU leadership claimed that a 2005 Side Letter relating to Meal and Break Periods and Restroom Facilities (2005 Side Letter) was not valid and was no longer in effect.

With this settlement, both parties agree that the 2005 Side Letter is active and will remain enforceable until a new contract is ratified or imposed through arbitration.

The parties further agreed that if the 2005 Side Letter is not carried forward to a new contract or if a different agreement is not made or imposed through arbitration, then either party may refer the matter to the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

TriMet also agreed to withdraw its Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint against the ATU regarding this issue and the ATU agreed to withdraw its grievance.

In a February 2016 letter to BOLI, the ATU had claimed that the 2005 Side Letter was not valid because it was not renewed when the collective bargaining agreement expired on Nov. 30, 2012. TriMet claimed the 2005 Side Letter had properly been carried forward to the 2012-16 contract.

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