METRO Transport Workers Union Health and Welfare Trust Review

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Release Date:       March 6, 2015

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The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. METRO operates more than 1,200 buses, and #SystemReimagining is now underway. For a good picture of where we are headed see our new system map. METRO is currently expanding its 13-mile Red Line with two new lines under construction. Other METRO services include: Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO visit where you can download our information about our T.R.I.P. app and our interactive rider tool METRO 360 [take a seat].  


METRO Board Presented Review of Transport Workers Health Benefits

METRO Board members received a summary of findings today regarding the Transport Workers Union-Metropolitan Transit Authority Health and Welfare Trust. The accounting firm BDO USA, LLP was asked by the Board to help determine whether the Trust is operating at a deficit and, if so, determine how that might have occurred. The review was also to determine if funds were misappropriated from the Trust.

The Trust, which is a separate entity from METRO, is charged with collecting funds and providing payment for the health and welfare benefits of union employees and retirees covered by insurance plans. 

Today's presentation revealed there was "no indication of misappropriation of funds", however, a deficit of about $1.4 million existed as of December 31, 2014 and it is growing. The insufficiency, according to BDO, is due to a shortfall in participant contributions, and by METRO’s underfunding of the Trust by $460,000 to $530,000. The deficit is projected to reach somewhere between $4.3 and $5.2 million by August 2015

The findings were presented today to the People Committee of the METRO Board of Directors. The full Board will discuss the findings of the report and next steps at the regularly scheduled Board meeting on March 26, 2015. The Trust has also taken steps for early open enrollment period for union employees to help reduce the deficit. 

METRO President and CEO Tom Lambert noted employee health insurance coverage will not be jeopardized, "The first priority is to make sure METRO employees have insurance coverage.”     

The full BDO report can be found here