Oregonian Against Benefits

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

December 24, 2009


Categories: Family, The Green Life

TriMet MAX Yellow Line tram on opening day wit...
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Sunday, December 20, 2009, my husband and I were floored to see that the Oregonian wants to bring down benefits for all by ridiculing the area transit authority.  In their front page article, the Oregonian lambasted union employees for sucking the system dry when the glorious management just wants to tidy up the bottom line.  My husband and I dutifully wrote our letters responding to the article.


Instead of being proud of having a local employer giving benefits the entire country should have, the Oregonian has chosen to throw TriMet employees under the bus, which ultimately will hurt the entire metro area.

As a TriMet employee, I assure you that I work hard for the money and the benefits. TriMet is a job that will take a hard toll on your body and the benefits we receive are greatly needed.

With my TriMet salary, my family & I live very modestly, and we still can’t even afford to own a small house. To add insult to injury, if we have to pay much more for health care, we won’t even be able to afford to live in our current home.


w:Westside Express Service train at Wilsonvill...

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Not being able to buy a house, pay off school loans, or afford to eat out at local restaurants more than once a month is the price our family of three pays for not having premiums and deductibles for in-network providers.

Yes, our co-pay is $5 for doctor visits, but we pay more for eye care, and we can barely afford dental care. The benefits are good, but that’s just compensation for only making 64% of the median family income – yes, that’s less than $40,000 a year.

The Oregonian would do better reporting on how TriMet management wants to cut ALL benefits. Management always sacrifices hard working union employees who keep the agency running smoothly instead of their own 6-figure salaries, like Steve Banta, who is leaving for a likely better paying job in Phoenix.


They printed neither, nor have they printed any letter from any union member.  There are more than 2,600 union employees, some who are known to be vocal.  Were 10% of the opinions represented (26 letters)?  No.  One lonely letter by a gentlemen from Lake Oswego trumpeted our thoughts.  That tiny letter was preceded by a loud editorial by the Oregonian editorial board.  So, one voice (Mr. Lake Oswego) in a sea of so many (TriMet management & the Oregonian) is hardly a loud cry.  My claim?  The Oregonian is slanting the news with the views they want shown.  They are only concerned with what every news agency seems to default to:  if it Bleeds it Leads.  Leaving more than 2,600 union employees and their families out in the cold certainly bleeds.

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  1. AL M

    The Oregonian has a long standing reputation as being “pro business” “anti government”.
    Spewing right wing hate propaganda attempting to create class warfare.
    American’s get screwed in general. What we have at TRIMET is what every American should have!
    The debate is going in the opposite direction from where it should be going!
    Unfortunately too many American’s are too stupid to realize they are being manipulated!

    • Michelle

      We were also wondering if you know of any other union members who’ve sent in letters to the editor, only to see them ignored.

  2. Michelle

    Thanks Al! That’s exactly how our “kitchen table conversations” focus. Thanks for your comment!


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