News briefs


Per-signature payment ban in effect

SALEM - Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury issued emergency rules last month to ensure the timely implementation of Measure 26, the Initiative Integrity Act. Measure 26, which bans payment by the signature on initiative and referendum petitions, received more votes than any other measure on the ballot and passed by a 3-1 margin in the Nov. 5 election.The new administrative rules require that:

All petition circulators must certify on each petition sheet that they were not paid by the signature;

All initiative sponsors must sign statements attesting that they will not pay circulators by the signature.

These new rules apply not only to new initiatives filed after Dec. 5, the effective date of Measure 26, but to all initiatives currently in circulation as of that date. Penalties for violations of the new law will be addressed in legislation to be submitted to the 2003 Legislature.


AFSCME's Riggs-Henson to chair Lane County Dems

SPRINGFIELD - Pat Riggs-Henson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Lane County Labor Council, has been elected chair of the Democratic Party of Lane County.

"I am excited about the opportunity to pull together and join in a common battle to protect the rights of every family in Lane County," said Riggs-Henson, a 23-year member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2831.

Riggs-Henson works as a career adviser for the Lane Workforce Partnership in Lane County. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Oregon AFL-CIO. She has been active in the Democratic Party for the past 14 years and is "a lifelong Democrat advocate."

She is married to Rick Henson, a business representative of AFSCME Oregon Council 75 assigned to Portland Local 189.


ILWU members voting on new six-year contract offer

Representatives of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) locals endorsed a tentative six-year contract with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) Dec. 12, sending the pact to the union's membership for a vote.

The 10,500 West Coast dockworkers started casting ballots this month. Results are expected Jan. 24. The tentative agreement, reached Nov. 23, allows new technology enhancements, increases pension benefits and retains strong health care benefits and safety protections, the union said.

The dockworkers returned to work Oct. 9 after President George W. Bush, in an unprecedented move, invoked the Taft-Hartley Act and secured a court order forcing the PMA to temporarily end its lockout of dockworkers and ordering work to resume without a contract during federally-mediated negotiations.


Wal-Mart guilty of not paying OT to Oregon employees

A federal jury in Portland decided Dec. 20 that Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, illegally refused to pay overtime to 450 workers in 18 of its 27 Oregon stores from 1994 to 1999 - a violation of both federal and state wage laws.

"Our witnesses said: 'What happens at Wal-Mart is, if you want to work there a long time, you have to work off the clock.' It's part of the culture there," one worker's attorney said.

Wal-Mart put 50 managers on the stand to deny the violations, but jurors didn't believe them.

Similar overtime suits are pending against Wal-Mart, known for its labor law-breaking, in 37 other states. Damages have not been decided.


Roofers Local 49's Walt Medley passes away at 69

A federal jury in Portland decided Dec. 20 that Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, illegally refused to pay overtime to 450 workers in 18 of its 27 Oregon stores from 1994 to 1999 - a violation of both federal and state wage laws.

"Our witnesses said: 'What happens at Wal-Mart is, if you want to work there a long time, you have to work off the clock.' It's part of the culture there," one worker's attorney said.

Wal-Mart put 50 managers on the stand to deny the violations, but jurors didn't believe them.

Similar overtime suits are pending against Wal-Mart, known for its labor law-breaking, in 37 other states. Damages have not been decided.


January 3, 2003 issue

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