Oregon Tradeswomen reaches agreement


Overcoming a rocky start, Oregon Tradeswomen reached agreement with Machinists Local Lodge 63 on a first union contract. Ratified by workers Dec. 7, the three-year agreement takes effect Jan. 1. It spells out cost of living raises, establishes basic union rights like “just cause” discipline, and locks in an existing four-day 32-hour work week. Workers did agree to give up one unusual perk, the right to take up to a month of paid personal leave.

A nonprofit organization, Oregon Tradeswomen recruits and prepares women for jobs in the skilled trades. As a state-registered pre-apprenticeship program, it teaches basic tool handling and safety and exposes women to apprenticeship programs so they can find a program that might be a good fit.

The new collective bargaining agreement covers the group’s eight remaining staff, down from 17 in February when they unionized. Since then, six staff have been laid off, one was terminated, and two resigned.

As detailed in the Oct. 20 issue of the Labor Press, workers’ decision to unionize was in response to board turmoil and the departure of the group’s executive director. By August, contract negotiations had bogged down, and the union accused Oregon Tradeswomen of bad faith bargaining. In the end, Machinists union rep Jessica Deming says agreement was reached thanks to the involvement of board treasurer Roberta Hunte. 



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