City of Portland attorneys drop objections, let union election move forward


After the City of Portland this month dropped its legal objections, nearly 700 workers are moving toward a vote on whether to unionize with City of Portland Professional Workers (CPPW), a newly formed independent union. 

That’s more than 90% of the unit that CPPW first proposed, and a far cry from city attorneys’ initial argument — that not one of those workers was eligible to be in a union under state law. 

Under a compromise signed April 3, CPPW agreed to exclude about 60 people that city attorneys contended were in supervisory, confidential, government relations or lobbying positions. Those concessions prevented long and costly hearings that could have delayed an election for months, said CPPW organizing committee member Jeff Winkler. The election will take place by mail and include analysts, coordinators, administrative specialists and a dozen other classification of workers across multiple bureaus. It’s the last large group of City of Portland employees without union representation. 

CPPW and the city have not yet set a date for that election, but the union expects it will happen within the next month. 

Winkler thinks the city’s change of heart may have resulted from Labor Press reporting about city attorney’s objection, which reached hundreds of city employees by email and may have prompted pressure to settle from city council. 


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