TriMet v. Amalgamated Transit Union Local

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 02-18-2016
  • Case #: A154561
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Wollheim, S.J.

The Oregon Public Meetings Law applies to governing bodies that do not require a quorum to conduct business when that governing body “meets” to make decisions.

TriMet sought a declaration that the collective bargaining sessions between TriMet and the employees, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), are not subject to Oregon’s Public Meetings Law (Law). The trial court held for TriMet, holding that the bargaining sessions were not “meetings” and not within the scope of the Law. The court agrees that the bargaining sessions are not “meetings” but that the sessions might still be subject to the Law. The bargaining team that meets consists of eight members and no minimum number of them must be present to conduct negotiations. ATU insists that the sessions be conducted pursuant to a public meeting and will not bargain unless the Law is complied with. If labor negotiations are conducted in the context of a “meeting,” they must be conducted pursuant to the Law. However, TriMet’s negotiations are not required to be conducted during an open meeting. TriMet’s sessions do not require a quorum to convene. However, recent case law clarifies that the Law applied not only to formal “meeting” but also to circumstances in which a quorum “meets” to deliberate a decision outside of a “meeting.” If the TriMet negotiating team is a governing body, they necessarily have a quorum, whether or not required to conduct negotiations. Vacated and remanded.

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