Deacon Who?

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(Note: Ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily shared by the transit agency I work for. This is simply an expression of free speech while describing the work bus operators perform.) I have been (and called) many things in this life. Most of all, I'm a writer who happens to drive a bus. In May of '13 I thought it would be fun to write about my job. As a direct result of this blog, I published a book in November of 2017 called "JUST DRIVE - Life in the Bus Lane" that is available on Amazon. I write to provide insight as to what it's like on a bus... From The Driver Side. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Broken Promises and Wounded Souls

Thanks to the dedicated souls of Maintenance
who work so hard to keep us rolling.
They constantly earn my respect!

Management assured us that turning on the microphones and expanding the camera view on the operator's seat would not lead to spying. They promised that when investigating an incident or complaint, the scrutiny would be only on the time of the incident.

They asked us to trust them. We did. 

I heard an operator say he was recently called in to speak with a manager about a complaint, and the meeting devolved into other times in his shift during which he supposedly did something wrong. Five day suspension.

"I had to drive Uber to make up for the loss in pay," he said, shaking his head.

This isn't the first time I've heard such a tale. Maybe management has forgotten its promises. We have not.

In addition, I also learned those tasked with reviewing data pack information were caught at Center Garage spying on operators outside of the agreed timelines. Somebody complained. Soon after, the staff was moved to a location where its activity could not be so easily witnessed. Management has proven once again, it will do what it wants to the detriment of its most valuable employees, without fear of reprisal. It simply cannot be trusted to do the honorable thing.

Morale is at an all-time low. Those who run our transit agency have NO oversight. They change Standard Operating Procedures on a whim, and seem hell-bent on suspending and firing honored veterans. Rather than respectfully supporting those who make their own jobs possible, their actions are confusing at best, nefarious and injurious at worst.

Those responsible for these severe indignities should be punished. We consistently exceed impossibly high standards, while those whose main goal should be supportive in nature, are allowed to run roughshod over us.

This behavior must stop.

If we had the right to strike, these injustices would slither into the Willamette River with the remainder of Portland's dirtiest mistakes. We should all petition the Oregon Legislature to restore our legal right to strike. This is mine.

We have had several administrations whose actions have wounded a devoted family of professionals. It's time for our family to rise up against this mountain of injustice and eradicate it forever. Only then is it possible to regain the heights of acclimation our system once earned around the globe.

Once again, I refuse to accept the false show of "support" on Transit Worker Appreciation Day '21. To allow management's phony declaration of admiration would be a grave error of weakness. We must unite  for the noble sake of our collective honor. We have a tradition of over 100 years of service behind us; they have 50 years of constant blunder and plunder.

Management and the Board stubbornly refuse to bend in appreciation during contract negotiations. Given our Herculean efforts and sacrifice over the past year of pandemic, fire and ice; any attempt to placate us with candies, fruit and broken trust highlights its utter contempt for those who make transit work.

We cannot trust them to suddenly change for the better. They have shown their hand plainly, with too many slaps in our collective face. It is time we become the change we need.

In solemn solidarity,

Deke N. Blue


  1. Once they get rid of the people who question authority management will find out how expensive that is. The big railroads are reaping that expensive policy right now as they have gotten rid of so many people who cared.

    1. Like I am fond of repeating, "the higher up you climb, the less oxygen there is." Thank you, and peace/safety to our brothers and sisters in Chicago and everywhere.

    2. As an engineer for one of the big railroads in question.... both your comment and this entire blog post ring true and hit home hard.

      We knew the interior cameras were not just going to be used to investigate incidents (and of course, it's always after the fact... it won't prevent squat). In fact, they use them to suspend or fire people for what are basically petty issues that are better resolved with a verbal chat from supervision at best, a reprimand at worst.

      Stay safe out there!!

  2. Trimet has learned that training new drivers is cheaper than paying benefits for long term employees. The turning point is around the 5 year mark.

    1. You get what you pay for. They are already finding good help hard to find; if they looked at those already under their wings, they might find a reason not to flap them so rapidly.


Sadness BusBits

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