By Don McIntosh
A coalition of six unions at the City of Portland declared impasse Dec. 13, setting in motion a timeline that could end in a strike. Contract bargaining between the City and the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) has dragged on since July 2020 without success. Under Oregon’s public sector collective bargaining law, both sides now must present their final offers by Dec. 20. Workers could give strike notice as soon as Jan. 9, and strike as early as Jan. 19.
DCTU bargains for over 1,180 City employees—members of AFSCME Local 189, IBEW Local 48, Machinists Local 1005, Operating Engineers Local 701, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290, and Painters District Council 5. DCTU’s previous three-year agreement expired June 30, 2020, but members voted to extend it to Dec. 31, 2020.
DCTU leaders say the City’s cost-of-living increase proposal—1.6% retroactive to July 1—is unacceptable at a time when real inflation is topping 6%. DCTU is proposing what amounts to 5%, plus an across-the-board increase of 1%.
“Through their agents at the bargaining table, we believe that Portland City Council has been unwilling to recognize the cost of the City’s labor needs,” said DCTU president Rob Martineau.