Portland airport retailer fires union activists


At Portland International Airport, World Duty Free has terminated three of the most vocal supporters of a union campaign. The Italian-headquarted company runs the Kiehl’s, Rich’s News, The Oregonian, and “The Market” kiosks at the airport. In February, a group of workers there came out in favor of joining UNITE HERE Local 8, but the company declined to voluntarily recognize the union.

On Oct. 22, pro-union employees Jim Waltz and David Cry were told they were being permanently laid off in a restructuring. Apparently their job title will no longer be needed, so those who held the title are being let go – even while the same locations were hiring for other jobs.

“I think my support for the union had everything to do wtih it,” Waltz said. “They hired six people the week I was let go.” Waltz earned $13 an hour; his five-year tenure made him the second-most senior in a workplace of about 45.

Local 8 says a third key union supporter was terminated for trumped-up infractions. The union filed charges Oct. 30 with the National Labor Relations Board.


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