PDX parking patrol may strike Feb. 9

PORTLAND, OR -- Parking patrol men and women at Portland International Airport have given 10 days' notice to strike, effective at 4 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 9. The 18 employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1847A. The Port of Portland operates the airport.

Business Representative Sam Gillispie said movement is afoot to go to final arbitration, but that he must first meet with the local's Executive Board and membership for a vote. Those meetings were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 3-4 -- after this issue of the Labor Press went to press.

"If our members agree to final arbitration we will pull the strike notice," Gillispie said.

Gillispie and representatives of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council met with Port Director Mike Thorne and several Port commissioners last week in an attempt to avert the work stoppage, which could snarl an already chaotic situation at the airport, which is in the middle of a $141 million expansion that has roadways, parking structures and the terminal under construction.

The parking patrol employees are seeking wage parity with parking patrol employees at the City of Portland, who make as much as 21.5 percent more in top wages, Gillispie said. The union also wants to reduce the hours it takes to qualify for health and welfare benefits -- from 128 hours a month to 80 hours -- similar to other bargaining units at the Port.

AFSCME's last proposal was a 10-year contract that would slowly bring wages to the level of city parking patrol employees. If the two sides agree to final arbitration, the union will present a four-year deal retroactive to July 1997, when the previous contract expired.


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