Oregon Catholic Press dumps union

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By COLIN STAUB

Eight workers at Oregon Catholic Press have ended their union representation, voting to decertify from OPEIU Local 11. 

The Portland-based nonprofit publisher prints sheet music, missals and other resources for church services. It also published the Catholic Sentinel, the oldest Catholic newspaper on the west coast, until the Sentinel ceased publication in October 2022. Once upon a time, the Oregon Catholic Press printed the Northwest Labor Press as well, but that ended when the organization decided to stop doing outside commercial work.

Oregon Catholic Press office clerical workers have long been represented by OPEIU Local 11, while its pre-press workers are affiliated with Communications Workers of America Local 7901. In December, a worker filed a decertification petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), seeking to dis-affiliate from Local 11. When ballots were counted Feb. 2, the vote was 7-1 to leave the union.

NLRB records show Local 11 filed unfair labor practice charges against Oregon Catholic Press in 2020, alleging the employer did not bargain in good faith and made unilateral changes without bargaining. Those charges were dismissed after being settled in arbitration.

Records also show a decertification petition was filed for the CWA Local 7901 unit in 2018, but was later withdrawn.

According to The Catholic Labor Network, a nonprofit organization of pro-union Catholics, the Oregon Catholic Press was the only non-healthcare Catholic organization with union representation in Oregon as of 2020.

The Labor Press was unable to reach Oregon Catholic Press workers willing to speak about the decertification.

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