February 1, 2008 Volume 109 Number 3

Portland Public Schools sticks to draconian offers
The honeymoon is over. Unions at Portland Public Schools had high hopes last October that a new superintendent, Carole Smith, might steer the district away from years of harsh labor relations stances toward the least-paid workers. By now it's clear that hasn't happened.

[Left, custodians, wage cuts pinned to their shirts, pack a Jan. 28 school board meeting.]

Union membership on the rise; Oregon adds 16,000; Washington 30,000
The unionized share of the labor market went up a bit nationwide in 2007, and in Oregon and Washington, according to the most recent annual report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's the first time since the BLS began collecting annual union membership rates in 1983 that the union share has increased.
Task force favors I-5 Bridge replacement
Replacing the I-5 Interstate Bridge — and extending the TriMet light rail line to Vancouver — are now the clear choice of a 39-member task force that has been studying how to relieve the Interstate Bridge traffic bottleneck.
Apollo Alliance maps strategy for ‘09 Legislature
Members of the Oregon Apollo Alliance met Jan. 22 to plan strategy for the 2009 Oregon Legislature. Apollo is a coalition of union, business and environmental groups that is calling for major government investment in alternative energy as a way to create new high-paying jobs for American workers. The group’s Oregon chapter was formed last year.
Washington labor turns attention to Olympia
Washington’s labor movement will be paying close attention to Olympia in the next two months, and pushing for passage of a handful of bills that would expand worker rights.
Eugene/Springfield grocery workers ratify new pacts
Following more than 12 months of bargaining, grocery clerks, meatcutters and central checkout employees have new contract with area grocers in Eugene-Springfield. Wages will increase $1.30 an hour over the life of the four-year agreement, retroactive to February 2007.
CWA calls for boycott of Unitus Credit Union
CWA Local 7901 — the union that represents workers at Qwest and AT&T — is asking unions and their members not to do business with Unitus Community Credit Union. In a December vote, CWA failed to get majority support from Unitus workers, so the credit union is now non-union.
ATU 757 calls off ambulance strike in Josephine County
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 has called off an unfair labor practice strike at American Medical Response in Josephine County.
BOLI survey will evaluate HVAC testing, balancing work
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) will survey contractors who test, balance and adjust HVAC (heating,ventilation and air conditioning) control systems this spring to determine whether or not they should have their own wage classification under state prevailing wage laws.
Three Carpenters locals endorse John Kroger for attorney general
Carpenters Union Locals 247 in Portland, 1065 in Salem and Exterior and Interior Specialists Local 2154 (drywall hangers) have endorsed John Kroger for Oregon attorney general in the Democratic primary.

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