Pac/West on Unfair/Do Not Patronize List

SALEM - PT3 Inc., doing business as Pac/West Communications, will remain on the Oregon AFL-CIO's Unfair/Do Not Patronize List.

In March 1999 the Executive Board of the state labor federation voted to review Pac/West's listing and a special committee was convened to investigate its possible removal from the Unfair List. The public relations and lobbying firm, which has several union clients, was placed on the Unfair/Do Not patronize List in 1997 after it contracted with a business group to lobby for tip-credit exemptions at the Oregon Legislature. In 1996, Pac/West was hired by the union-financed pro-Ballot Measure 36 coalition to increase the state's minimum wage. Pac/West was hired to do research and polling for the coalition.

The Oregon AFL-CIO placed Pac/West on the Unfair List after determining that the business had "undermined labor's interest" and - at least by perception - had a conflict of interest in working for both sides of the minimum wage debate.

The special committee of the Oregon AFL-CIO met May 18 with Pac/West president Paul Phillips, a former Republican state senator from Tigard. But prior to that meeting members of the committee learned of Pac West's involvement in several "labor bills" at the 1999 Legislative session. Of specific concern was Phillips' involvement in Senate Bill 1169, legislation that would, among other things, give 9,000 homecare workers in the state the right to form a union. The bill was a top priority of the Oregon Public Employees Union, Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union, which had embarked on an organizing drive of state homecare workers.

According to the Oregon AFL-CIO special committee, Phillips lobbied the bill to go to a legislative committee chaired by Gene Derfler, an anti-union, anti-public employee Republican lawmaker from Salem. Labor bills in Derfler's committee seldom survive.

Phillips told the special committee that he did not single out SB 1169, but because he represents several local unions and councils in the Legislature, he had requested early in the session that all labor bills that might impact his clients be sent to Derfler's committee.

It was the unanimous opinion of the Oregon AFL-CIO special committee that "Phillips' assumption of a gatekeeper's role vis-a-vis organized labor bills in the 1999 Legislative session, and the ensuing death sentence of many of those bills, constitute a violation of the Oregon AFL-CIO's interests which exceeds Pac/West's original transgressions."

On June 18 the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board upheld the special committee's findings and voted to keep Pac/West on the Unfair List.

The Oregon AFL-CIO added Certaintead Corp. of White City to its Unfair/Do Not Patronize List, at the request of the Southern Oregon Central Labor Council. The company was cited for its alleged failure to pay prevailing wages and fringe benefits and for using an out-of-state workforce.

Still on the state labor federation's Unfair List are Bi-Mart, Shilo Inns, Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo Bank, Plympton & Associates, Cummins Northwest Inc. of Medford, and the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners at Madras.

July 2, 1999 issue

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