Disgusting. Predictably ridiculous. Our "board of directors" struck again into the heart of Portland transit, naming its pre-ordained Canadian reject as the new General Manager.
Predictably, the media latched on to the board's new darling with a lame narrative of how Kelsey "left" TransLink in Vancouver. He was fired in 2015. (See 'TransLink Makes Changes...') Somehow, he made his way into TriMet management after his ouster, leaving a trail of disastrous policy in his wake. Now, he'll bring this expertise to bear... down on us.
"You can be safe," Kelsey stated at the earlier dog-and-pony show board meeting last month, "and be on time." Spoken like someone who truly hasn't a clue about the work of the people he now rules.
Amalgamated Transit Union 757 officials warned the board about appointing Kelsey. President Shirley Block asked if he supported union workers, and he squirmed through the answer saying he was 50-50 on the subject. Vice President Jon Hunt asked if Kelsey supported the findings of a state audit a few years earlier, but the new suit hadn't even read it. He also didn't believe management supported leaving sick operators stranded in the field to find their own way home. "Doesn't pass the smell test," he replied with what seems a standard bland attitude we're now up against.
When we heard of our former GM's impending golden-goose egg retirement, we collectively shrugged our shoulders. "Here comes another dipstick," one operator stated.
Once again, the board, local media and general populace of Portland allowed our transit agency to continue the status-quo. No innovation, no support of its workers, no new approach to fix a broken system. We're up to 20+ reported assaults so far this year, an alarming figure that promises to rise above triple digits by year's end. Our transit mall continues to deteriorate, Uber and Lyft drivers clog our transit lanes and bus stops, and Kelsey wants to "partner" with these nuisances.
Yeah, we're screwed. Our union officers need your support. We have elections this year, and I hope the focus is more on the issues rather than personal attacks. For once, we need to have a drastic uptick in voting participation, as well as general support in union activities. Whoever is elected has an even steeper hill to climb the next few years. The union-busting management will hit us even harder with more outrageous contract demands, and will take advantage of our internal discord and lack of unity. Divide and conquer has worked wonders for the ruling elite in a centuries-long domination of the masses.
Nobody cares about us, except US. Unless we pull together, we'll eventually be replaced with robots. Not kidding one iota here.