Dirty drinking water? Portland shipyard workers say no thanks


After their employer installed water coolers that delivered murky water, Portland shipyard workers went straight to their union. Swapping out traditional gravity-fed five gallon water coolers, Vigor installed new Quench brand water dispensers on piers and in lunch rooms around the shipyard. Boilermakers Local 104 Assistant Business Manager Ben Heurung says complaints started coming in that at some of the stations, the water was coming out discolored with debris. 

Thirsty? Maybe not if the water is as discolored as this water that came from a water dispenser at the Portland shipyard. | Photo courtesy Boilermakers Local 104

Union leaders brought it up at labor-management committee meetings, and Heurung says he gives Vigor credit: The complaints moved up the chain of command, and the company took action. It called the vendor to change out filters, and it brought back some of the traditional coolers.

“At this point, we’re happy that the employer is actually trying to resolve the issue to ensure that people have fresh drinking water, especially with the heat coming.”


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