Joyful Noise child care workers go union

Worker bees are about cooperation. Bubble blowers, face painting and art stations drew parents and kids as well as child care workers to the playground at Laurelhurst Park for a June 4 union rally. Workers say they love the job but want more say on staffing and safety issues. | PHOTO BY DON McINTOSH


In ballots counted July 6, workers at a chain of four child development centers in Portland voted by a three-to-one margin to unionize with International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 5.

The election drew 64% turnout, and workers voted 38-12 to affiliate with the union. The bargaining unit has 78 total members. After the election, workers held a victory party at labor hangout Workers Tap in Southeast Portland.

Workers previously told the Labor Press they wanted to unionize to address problems with short staffing that’s causing burnout, and safety.

After the ballot count, Joyful Noise executive director Alice Smith shared the results in an email with families whose children go to the centers. Smith thanked workers for voting and said management looks forward to developing a positive relationship with ILWU. She added bargaining will start in the next few weeks.

Joyful Noise operates two centers in downtown Portland and two on the city’s east side. It’s the fourth child care provider to unionize with Local 5.

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