By MALLORY GRUBEN
Workers at All Good Northwest ratified a first contract July 26 that guarantees annual pay increases, more time off, and traumatic incident leave. All Good is a Portland nonprofit that operates five homeless shelters, including three tiny-house villages. Bargaining team member Misha Litvak said the agreement will help recruit and retain workers.
Oregon AFSCME represents about 85 workers there. They voted to unionize June 2022, and a week later All Good fired one of the workers for speaking to news media — including the Labor Press — about unsafe conditions at one of the tiny home villages the nonprofit operated. All Good eventually paid $20,000 to settle a charge that it illegally fired him. Oregon AFSCME also filed charges alleging that All Good violated federal labor law by coercing workers to vote “no” in the union election.
Despite those early anti-union tactics, the nonprofit was surprisingly cooperative during bargaining, Litvak said.
Litvak, a caseworker at the Queer Affinity village, celebrates his one-year anniversary with All Good on Sept. 6. Under the new contract, he will receive a 3% “step increase” that day.
“There was no plan for that, if we had not bargained for it,” Litvak said. “I was going to make $24 an hour forever without this contract.”
In addition to raises on their hire anniversaries, workers will receive a 3% wage increase each year of the contract. The first boost took effect this month. The others are set for July 2024 and July 2025. They also got a one-time ratification bonus of $250.
The contract also outlines several $50 stipends for workers, including payments for cleaning up biohazards or working in inclement weather. Workers will receive a $50 “traumatic event” stipend if they are exposed to a death while on shift, or if a resident threatens them with death, serious injury, or sexual violence while on shift. Workers who experience a traumatic event also receive two shifts of paid “traumatic incident leave.”
“Management knows that employee burnout is ubiquitous, so they say ‘self care’ and they put all of that on the workers,” Litvak said. “Something we said at the (bargaining) table was self care isn’t free. Self care costs money.”
The contract nearly doubles paid time off. During negotiations, the bargaining team learned that managers who work from home accrue seven hours of PTO per 15-day pay period, while workers in the villages only got four hours. They negotiated to bring everyone to the same accrual rate, Litvak said.
The contract also guarantees seven paid holidays and one floating holiday, and a $50 stipend if someone is called in to work a holiday they weren’t scheduled for.
Litvak said members wanted a “knowledge, skills, and ability” differential that would raise wages 5% for any worker with “lived experience of addiction and homelessness,” or who are LGBTQ or a person of color. All Good wouldn’t agree to that request, citing financial concerns. But the final contract includes a reopener clause that would allow workers to negotiate over pay if the nonprofit receives additional funding.
Workers ratified the agreement with more than 97% approval, Litvak said. It expires Sept. 1, 2026.
“I think this (contract) is extremely strong,” Litvak said. “I think this is something other social services agencies can say, ‘Look at what All Good got. Look at their wages. They get biohazard pay, they get traumatic event leave.’”
All Good spokesperson Devon Hoyt said the nonprofit also is pleased with the agreement.
“We can confidently say that our partnership with Oregon AFSCME has been a positive, collaborative experience and hope to continue this moving forward,” Hoyt said. “The bargaining team had a creative approach to previously identified concerns, and we thank them for their time and efforts in all sessions.”