By Don McIntosh
Delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC) voted unanimously March 22 to place Integrated Power Services (IPS) on the council’s “Unfair List.” That means the local AFL-CIO is asking that supporters not do business with the company. IPS repairs electric motors and generators at more than two dozen locations in the United States and Canada, including one at NW 21st and York in the Northwest Industrial Area of Portland, where 15 workers are jointly represented by International Association of Machinists (IAM) District Lodge W24 and Boilermakers Local 104 as part of the Metal Trades Council of Portland and Vicinity.
IAM District Lodge W24 representative Bob Petroff requested the unfair listing on the grounds that IPS failed to bargain in good faith over a new agreement. The Metal Trades Council makes a similar allegation in an unfair labor practice charge filed March 11 with the National Labor Relations Board.
The previous contract—which covers 15 workers at the Portland location—expired Oct. 1, 2020 and IPS presented what it called its final offer Jan. 22, 2021. Heeding the bargaining team’s recommendation, workers rejected it in a 10-1 vote March 20 and then voted unanimously to authorize a strike.
Petroff says one key sticking point is IPS’ refusal to pay overdue raises retroactively, which is a standard feature in union contract settlements. The two sides are also 0.25% apart on their wage proposals. Petroff says IPS also unilaterally increased what employees contribute to health insurance—without the agreement of the union or its members.
Pay currently starts at $22.09 and rises as high as $30.42 or $33.13 depending on the job and skill level.
Mark DuBose, IPS vice president of human resources, appeared before an executive session of the NOLC board to argue that they should not receive the “unfair” designation, and said he takes pride in the relationships IPS has with all unions. But the board recommended the listing anyway. The listing continues until the two sides reach agreement. IPS is currently the only employer on NOLC’s Unfair List.
Depending on further progress in talks, the unfair listing may next advance to the state and national AFL-CIO.
The two sides were next scheduled to meet for negotiations April 2.