News briefs

Nursing homes in Oregon may go union en masse

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 is in the midst of a major campaign to unionize nursing home workers. The statewide local, also known as Oregon Public Employees Union, has 11 elections scheduled during the week of Nov. 17-22, and expects to file for six moreelections this year and 17 next year. Altogether the different locations may amount to as many as 2,000 workers.

The campaign is focused on several companies operating nursing homes in Oregon, representing about a third of the industry. The companies agreed to take a neutral stance toward unionization, and sent letters to employees declaring neutrality.

Steven Ward, Local 503 organizing director, said union organizers have been working seven days a week to build support for the union among workers. Where workers vote in the union, Ward said they can expect relatively straightforward negotiations ending in a fair contract.


Union members help with GirlFEST

The Oregon Tradeswomen’s interactive exhibit— “The House That Jill Built” — was a popular stopping point at last month’s GirlFEST at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, with some 700 girls offered the chance to use power tools for the first time. In the photo above, Sheet Metal Workers Local 16 apprentice Lori Kajkowski (left) helps two Girl Scouts measure their height and drill the mark on the front of a door while the back of the door has math equations used in the trade.

The exhibit was a collaboration between the Girl Scouts and Oregon Tradeswomen designed to teach girls about career opportunities in construction. Tradeswomen from a range of fields volunteered at four doors, with each door representing a basic component in building a house: Carpentry, plumbing, electrical and sheet metal.

“We had a strong union presence with Local 16 sponsoring the sheet metal door, Local 48 electricians, and a Local 290 Plumber & Fitter door. Pink safety glasses, pink screws, necklaces made of washers, and enthusiastic tradeswomen volunteers helped girls feel at home in the House that Jill Built,” said Liz O’Neill of Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.

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