Painters set May 1 strike date


A painters strike could hit construction jobs across the Portland metro area.

About 320 commercial, industrial and bridge painters in Painters Local 10 may go out on strike May 1 if they don’t reach agreement with union-signatory contractors before then. A painters strike would affect construction projects across the metro area. The construction labor market is about as tight as ever.

A previous three-year collective bargaining agreement between Local 10 and Oregon Signatory Painting Contractors Organization (SPCO) expired March 31. To give the two sides more time to reach agreement, negotiators for Local 10 agreed to extend the contract to April 30 — in exchange for an employer commitment that when a deal is eventually reached, any raises will be retroactive to April 1. Members were voting on that through April 19 (after this issue went to press), and on a second question as well: whether to authorize a strike May 1. 

Wages are the center of the dispute. For decades, wages for members of Painters Local 10 fell well behind those of other local building trades union members. In the summer of 2021, Local 10 members held a series of intermittent strikes, until contractors agreed to significant catch-up raises. This time around, Painters District Council 5 representative Scott Oldham says union members want to continue that “catch-up,” while the employer group favors raises that would maintain members at the current level after adjusting for inflation.

The Oregon AFL-CIO is promoting an online petition calling on SPCO to provide a living wage to workers. 


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