News briefs

Laborers leaflet zoo

Municipal Employees Local 483 members greeted children and their parents with peanuts, candy bars and union fliers at the entrance to the Oregon Zoo April 12. To raise public awareness about their contract negotiations, the union picked April 12 because it was "Packy Day" - the 41st birthday of the zoo's most famous resident. Packy is the first elephant born in North America, and the largest Asian elephant in the United States. The Oregon Zoo is run by Metro. Local 483, an affiliate of the Laborers International Union of North America, represents Oregon Zoo and Metro regional parks employees, including zookeepers, park rangers, horticulturalists, the ticket crew and maintenance and custodial workers. They are engaged in negotiations on a new contract. Currently management is seeking to reduce cost of living increases, change seniority language, and increase the amount workers must pay for health care. The zoo also plans to reduce full-time positions, replacing them with volunteers and part-time and seasonal workers. The Municipal Employees were joined by members of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 3580, who have their own issue with the zoo - a plan to contract out the gift shop. They handed out fliers asking the public to call Metro President David Bragdon at 503-797-1889 and tell him "not to monkey with the Gift Shop."

NW Oregon Labor Council endorses Measure 26-48

The Northwest Oregon Labor Council has voted to endorse Ballot Measure 26-48, the three-year, 1.25 percent income tax in Multnomah County to fund schools, health care, senior care and public safety.

Voters in Multnomah County will decide the issue on the May 20 mail-in ballot. Only residents of Multnomah County will be assessed the tax (no matter what county they work in), which is expected to raise about $135 million annually.

"This ballot measure will be a top priority of this labor council," said Executive Secretary-Treasurer Judy O'Connor. "We have a big job a-head of us to make sure this passes."

The labor council is recruiting volunteers for phone banking at 214 SE 18th, Portland, starting Monday, April 21, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and continuing until election day. There are12 autodial phone lines available and O'Connor is asking locals to fill a night or two, or three with enough volunteers to staff all 12 phones for three hours. Food and beverages are provided.

Additionally, retirees can phone bank other retired union members from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting April 21 at the same location.

Diane Linn, chair of Multnomah County, told the labor council's Executive Board that the income tax simply stabilizes programs that are already in place, no new programs will be created. "It will be a devastating blow if it fails," she said.

For more information about the phone banks, call the labor council at 503-235-9444.

Laborers' Hoffmann backed for Reynolds School Board seat

Bill Hoffmann, a 25-year member of Laborers Local 296, has been endorsed by several labor organizations in his bid for a seat on the Reynolds School Board.

The Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council, the Oregon District Council of Laborers and Local 296 are backing Hoffmann in the May 20 election.

Hoffmann said he opposes contracting out and supports paying teachers "what they justly deserve."

Hoffmann has lived in the district for eight years and has two daughters who attend middle school and high school.

Service Employees Local 140 backs three for school board

School Employees Local 140 has endorsed three candidates for the Portland Public School Board. The union represents cafeteria workers at the school district and is fighting for reinstatement of some 300 custodians whose jobs were contracted out last year.

Local 140 endorsed banker David Wynde in Zone 2, Multnomah County chief operating officer John Ball in Zone 3, and retired Portland Association of Teachers president Richard Garrett in Zone 4.

Four of seven school board seats are open in the May 20 election, with no incumbent seeking re-election. Twenty-four candidates have filed in the four districts.

April 18, 2003 issue

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