Four migrant day care centers join Laborers 737

Laborers Local 737 leaders Ben Guzman (left) and Zach Culver (right) celebrate with union supporters after a successful union campaign at non-profit child care centers in Marion and Clackamas counties. (Photo courtesy of Local 737)

About 130 workers at four non-profit child care centers in Marion and Clackamas counties expect to begin contract bargaining later this month, after voting 61 to 56 to unionize with Laborers Local 737 on March 20.

The taxpayer-funded centers are run by the non-profit Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC). OCDC provides early childhood education to about 4,000 children of migrant farm workers at 24 locations in 13 Oregon counties.

Workers at several OCDC facilities have been union-represented since 2008, when they were members of what was then Laborers Local 320. At OCDC’s Gresham location, workers voted out the union in 2012, and so did workers at the Silverton and Woodburn facilities in 2013.

The Laborers union has continued to represent workers at OCDC centers in Cornelius in Washington County.

The recent union vote brings  the Silverton and Woodburn facilities back into the union, along with OCDC day care centers in Brooks and Mulino.

Workers at OCDC child care centers in Klamath Falls, Chiloquin, and Malin, Oregon voted to join AFSCME in 2015.

“This is a group of brave women and men,” Local 737 organizer Ben Guzman said. “They do this work and do it well, and they want to be represented.”

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