February 5, 2010 Volume 111 Number 3

Tax increases on wealthy and corporations win in a landslide
When votes were counted Jan. 26, it wasn't even close: The first time they've been asked, Oregonians said "yes" by a lopsided margin to raising taxes on corporations and the state's richest individuals.

[Left, supporters of Measures 66 and 67 react at an election night party.]

A labor ‘look back’ over Obama’s first year in office
One year into his four-year term, President Barack Obama’s list of achievements looks a little thin when it comes to issues of primary importance to organized labor. The list consists of the stimulus act, several pro-labor appointments and executive orders, a tariff on Chinese tires, and a law that gives women workers more time to sue over wage discrimination.
Labor’s message to lawmakers: 'Good Jobs, Now!'
Rachel Santos, a member of Laborers Local 296, worked so little last year that she lost her home, car, and good credit standing. Her story, and others like it, were heard over and over last month during a three-city “Good Jobs Now” forum sponsored by the Oregon AFL-CIO.
UFCW Local 555 ratifies Portland grocery pacts
After 18 months of contentious bargaining, grocery workers, meat cutters and checkout clerks in the Portland metropolitan area ratified new collective bargaining agreements Jan. 23 with their employers — Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway.
Portland parking meter techs win fight against outsourcing
Six parking meter technicians are about to get $28,300 each — the penalty the City of Portland was ordered to pay for trampling their union contract. Their union, Laborers Local 483, warned that the City would be breaking its union contract if outsourced an upgrade of city-owned parking pay stations. City Council ignored the warning.
Soccer stadium deal comes with union neutrality and living wage commitments
The City of Portland has reached a deal with Portland Timbers’ owner Merritt Paulson to turn PGE Park into a major league soccer stadium. The $31 million pact guarantees the stadium will be built by workers who earn a family wage and get health and retirement benefits, and that the stadium operator will stay neutral during any union organizing campaign.
Housing Authority to import windows for apartment weatherization project
Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) is replacing windows at Hollywood East Apartments. The agency could have used high-efficiency windows made by Chicago union workers at the facility formerly known as Republic Windows and Doors. Instead, HAP chose to import windows from Canada.
Labor bills in the mix as lawmakers return to Salem
The Oregon Legislature began its special session Feb. 1, and representatives of organized labor will be in and out of the Capitol over the next three weeks with a wish list they want the Democratic leadership to support.
Honduran union leader tells of labor's struggle against coup
Jose Luis Baquedano, secretary-treasurer of a Honduran labor federation, delivered an eye-witness account of last year's army-led coup d'etat in Honduras at a Jan. 28 talk in Portland. Baquedano said mainstream U.S. media reports have provided a distorted picture. Honduran labor unions waged a general strike in the first several weeks of the coup.
Airport screeners in nationwide campaign to unionize
A nationwide union campaign is under way among roughly 40,000 airport screeners at 450 U.S. airports. The screeners check baggage and passengers to keep weapons and explosives off planes. But big fights have been waged in Congress over whether the screeners will have the right to collective bargaining.
Attorney General tells Labor Law crowd he will fight to defend Worker Freedom Act
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger told attendees of the 14th annual Oregon Labor Law Conference that his office will do everything in its power to defend the State of Oregon against a lawsuit filed by Associated Oregon Industries and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that would rescind the Worker Freedom Act from becoming law.
PGE proposes to change — or close — Boardman coal plant
Portland General Electric announced Jan. 14 a proposal to close — or alter — its Boardman, Oregon, coal-burning electricity generating plant in 2020. The plant, which employs about 80 members of IBEW Local 125, is the biggest source of power for PGE customers, but is also the state’s largest source of air pollution.
Kitzhaber picks up more union endorsements
The Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Oregon State Firefighters Council have endorsed John Kitzhaber for governor of Oregon.
Driving in Oregon? Keep your hands off your phone
Oregon’s new ban on cell phone use while driving went into effect Jan. 1. The minimum fine is $142, and it’s a primary offense, which means police can pull you over just for talking or texting on a cell phone.
Electrical Workers Minority Caucus meets, and volunteers, in Portland
More than 350 delegates from throughout the country attended the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus convention Jan. 14-18 in Portland. On Jan 14, more than 125 volunteers fanned out across the city for a “day of service” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And on Jan. 18, delegates got a visit from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.
Laborers Gary Moore re-elected to Portland Metal Trades Council post
Gary Moore Jr., a business representative of Laborers Local 296, was re-elected executive secretary treasurer of the Metal Trades Council or Portland and Vicinity.  

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