Oregon bill would end last-minute overtime in bakeries



The Oregon Senate advanced a bill preventing bakeries from penalizing employees who refuse overtime with less than five days notice, known as forced overtime.

SB 1513 would improve conditions for employees at the Nabisco plant in Northeast Portland, according to workers who testified before the Senate Committee on Labor and Business.

Donna Marks, a Nabisco plant worker for 18 years and union leader at Bakers, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 364, said workers receive a “discipline point” when they decline to work overtime, regardless of how much notice they receive or if another worker takes the shift. They sometimes receive as little as 15 minutes notice. After eight points, workers are suspended pending termination, she said.

That makes for difficult decisions for workers like Marks, who was a single parent early on in her time at Nabisco.

“When faced with the choice of leaving my young daughter alone in the house to take the overtime shift and avoid a point or taking the point to pick her up from school, I had no real choice,” she said.

Mike Burlingham, a pest control worker at the Nabisco plant and secretary treasurer of BCTGM Local 364, said forced overtime is a “longstanding practice” at the plant. He also described having to choose between facing a penalty for rejecting overtime, or paying a fee for being late to pick up his children in daycare.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and Professional and Technical Employees Local 17 also testified in support of the bill.

The bill was initially written to require two weeks of notice for overtime shifts, but was amended to require five days. The business group Oregon Business & Industry called on lawmakers to reduce the required notice to 48 hours, but agreed that five days was a good compromise.

During a Feb. 10 work session, the committee of three Democrats and two Republicans voted 5-0 to recommend passage of the amended bill. It then went to the Senate floor for consideration, where it passed in a vote of 24 to 2 on Feb. 15. The bill now moves to the Oregon House.

2/24/22 UPDATE: The bill passed the House 35-21 and now will go to the governor for her signature before becoming law.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more