August 21, 2009 Volume 110 Number 16

Laborers Local 320 members ratify first deal with OCDC

Employees at the Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC) in Multnomah, Washington, and Marion counties ratified first-ever union contracts earlier this month.

Some 400 workers at the private, non-profit pre-school childhood care and education network are members of Laborers Local 320. The bargaining unit consists of teachers, teacher assistants, cooks, bus drivers, custodians and other workers. The staff works primarily with families of the state’s migrant farm workers.

The organizing campaign took part in stages, with the first group of some 170 employees in Washington County joining the union in July 2008. That was followed by 140 employees from Multnomah County and 90 more in Marion County.

Statewide, OCDC employs 1,100 workers at operations in 12 counties, serving about 3,000 children and families.

As more workers joined the union, the sides decided to bargain jointly.

Following months of sometimes difficult bargaining, a contract was obtained. It was ratified 98-1 in voting that took place Aug. 7.

The three-year pact provides for a 27 percent wage increase for Level 4 teachers, retroactive to January 2009. All other employees will see raises of 6.9 percent retroactive to January 2009. The contract calls for a wage reopener in the second and third years of the three-year pact.

OCDC operates on a budget of almost $35 million a year. It gets funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Child Care Division, various school districts, and private donations.

Some of the funding for the retroactive raises is from stimulus fund monies to those agencies that was passed through to OCDC.

Local 320 Business Manager Dave Tischer said that in addition to the raises, workers now have in writing a fair and just grievance process, seniority language, and a new labor-management committee.

“We’re pretty happy with it. It’s a good first contract,” Tischer said.

Local 320 is headquartered in Portland. The union represents 1,100 workers in heavy and highway construction, at industrial plants, as well as in the public sector.

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