Laborers Local 483 wins wage hikes for zoo and parks workers in tentative deal with Metro


Laborers Local 483 reached a tentative agreement with Metro that will increase wages and paid time off for roughly 250 workers at the Oregon Zoo and regional parks.

If ratified by members, the four-year agreement would give workers an 8% cost of living raise retroactive to July 1, 2023, when the last contract expired. That would be followed by a 4% raise July 1, 2024, and 3% raises July 1, 2025, and July 1, 2026 — and the union would have the right to reopen negotiations for pay if regional inflation exceeds 5%.

The agreement also sets a $20.40 an hour wage floor for Metro’s regional government park rangers, park and zoo maintenance techs, zookeepers, veterinary techs, and zoo guest services workers. That’s up from $16.50 in the previous contract, and it means some workers may get additional raises beyond their cost of living increase.

Other improvements include:

  • Quicker vacation accrual Workers in their first three years will accrue 120 hours of paid time off per year, compared to 80 under the previous contract. And the top accrual rate — 216 hours per year — will take effect for workers with at least 14 years on the job, compared to 25 years under the previous agreement.
  • Improved grievance procedure Union reps will have three weeks to investigate and file a complaint, compared to two before.
  • Hazard pay for Zoo Lights installation Workers have reported getting shocked while installing lights, and at least one employee was hospitalized as a result. Now any workers who operate boom lifts or do electrical and cable splicing will get a $1 an hour premium.

Local 483 negotiators tried to get Metro to agree to paid lunch breaks for workers, because many members have complained about getting interrupted by zoo or park visitors during their meal breaks. Metro rejected the proposal but agreed to review complaints from employees who worked during a meal break and, when possible, prevent future interruptions.


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