City of Portland union coalition has new leadership


The District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) has new leadership and plans for a new direction. DCTU—a coalition of six unions—negotiates a collective bargaining agreement that covers about 1,100 City of Portland employees in all.

Rob Martineau

On Dec. 1, affiliated unions elected AFSCME Local 189 president Rob Martineau as DCTU president; IBEW Local 48 business representative Jenna Bazner as vice president; and Machinists District Lodge W24 organizer Will Lukens as secretary-treasurer. DCTU also named as trustees Painters District Council 5 member Jack Johnson; Operating Engineers Local 701 member Chris Montgomery; and UA Local 290 member Nichet Newsome.

Martineau, Bazner and Lukens say they want to chart a new course for DCTU, breaking down walls and building solidarity across unions and bureaus. They also want to make DCTU processes more transparent  and open the coalition up to direct involvement by rank-and-file members of affiliated unions.

Martineau, a crew leader at the Portland Water Bureau, is the DCTU’s first rank-and-file leader. Up to now the DCTU has been led by a staff member at an affiliated union, most recently business representative Pat Christensen of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 290, who recently retired.

Martineau and the other officers say they want to hold joint meetings open to members of all the unions, and communicate directly to represented workers.

Bazner said DCTU will also continue to ally with Laborers Local 483 and Protec 17, city worker unions that aren’t in the DCTU but share goals and have a history of working together effectively.

DCTU’s contract with the City expired June 30, and was extended by mutual agreement to Dec. 31. To help the City contain costs amid pandemic uncertainty, DCTU agreed to delay a 2.9% cost-of-living increase that was expected on July 1; instead the raise will take effect Jan. 1.

DCTU has been meeting with the City to bargain a new agreement. Leading the negotiations is Oregon AFSCME representative Bao Nguyen, with Mark Hinkle of IBEW Local 48 as co-negotiator.


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