Part-time parking patrol at PDX prepares to strike

PORTLAND, OR -- Part-time parking patrol employees at Portland International Airport (PDX) are taking steps to strike if accord isn't reached soon on a new collective bargaining agreement. They are working under a contract that expired last June.

Eighteen parking patrol employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1847A.The airport is operated by the Port of Portland and parking patrol workers are responsible for moving the vehicular and pedestrian traffic at the congested, construction-impacted facility.

The Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC) cited in the Port to explain why it shouldn't be placed on the Unfair List of organized labor. Bob Neibert, director of human resources, and Brenda Meece, labor relations manager, represented the Port at the Dec. 8 meeting of NOLC's Executive Board.

The parking patrol workers are seeking phased-in wage parity with parking patrol attendants at the City of Portland, who also are represented by AFSCME. The differential is as much as 20 percent at the top end, according to Business Representative Sam Gillispie.

PDX employees also are seeking parity for health and welfare coverage. Currently they must work 28 hours a week to qualify for coverage while most part-time employees at the Port of Portland need only 20 hours to get fringe benefits, Gillispie said.

Full-time employment is another issue. The union insists that adding more full-time jobs will improve efficiency. Approximately 10 of the 18 parking patrol employees want full-time work.

Neibert said there has been a "long, steady debate" about wage parity at the Port for years. He also admitted that "we are a long ways away" from a settlement.

In the event of a strike, several union leaders said they will "do what we can to help AFSCME out." That early support came from the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council, which represents hundreds of workers at airport construction projects, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which loads and unloads ships at Swan Island and other Port facilities.

A state mediator entered the stalled negotiations last week. State law requires a mandatory 15 days of mediation, followed by a 30-day cooling-off period and 10 days' notice to strike. The earliest the parking patrol attendants could walk out would be Jan. 26.

In other Port news, 43 employees at the Port of Portland's Marine Terminals -- represented by a half-dozen locals that make up the District Council of Trade Unions -- ratified a new four-year agreement after rejecting the first offer on a 20-20 vote. The hang-up was retroactive wage increases, which the Port eventually agreed to pay.

Glen Feuerborn, business manager of Municipal Employees Local 483, an affiliate of the Laborers, said negotiations for a crew of landscapers is "coming along."

Unions at the Port met with Director Mike Thorne and department officials Dec. 9 to discuss Port plans and problems.

The Port citing was placed in the hands of the Executive Board with a deadline of Dec. 26.


Dec. 19, 1997 issue

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