River dredgers ratify contract with Port of Portland


Seasonal workers who maintain the navigation channels in the Columbia River for the Port of Portland approved a new contract that provides a pay bump of 15% to 21% over the next four years.

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701 represents the unit of about 50 workers in the port’s dredge operations. Their new four-year contract provides a 6% wage increase in the first year, retroactive to July 6. Workers are paid based on job classification. The 6% raise brings the lowest paid group of workers to $44.41 an hour, up from $41.90, and the highest paid to $52.36, up from $49.40.

In July 2024, workers will receive a 5% pay increase. The next two years of the contract, their raises will be based on regional inflation with a minimum of a 2% raise and maximum of a 5% raise both years.

The agreement also increases how much sick leave workers can bank to 72 hours, up from 56.  It adds one paid holiday, extends the introductory period from 75 days to 120 days, and provides a $2 an hour premium for workers with a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) who are asked to use that CDL on the job.

Local 701 started negotiating a new contract in the spring and reached a tentative agreement shortly after the previous agreement expired on June 30. Union members ratified the contract Sept. 1, and port commissioners signed off on it Oct. 11.

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