March 17, 2006  Volume 107 Number 6

A crisis for education workers

Left: Workers from the Multnomah Educational Service District picket March 9 after working without a contract since July. About 400 workers, mostly classroom assistants, belong to AFSCME Local 1995, which declared a bargaining impasse Feb. 14 and could call a strike as early as March 27. MESD management proposes that workers pay substantially more for health coverage.

The Great Tax Shift:
Corporations pay less and less in state taxes, leaving workers to pick up the slack
In today’s Oregon, the only thing more regular than rain is government budget-cutting. Meanwhile, little noticed by Oregon residents, the state is collecting less tax revenue than it used to from its biggest corporations, and it’s even giving tax money back in the form of a “kicker.” Could there be a connection?
City unions, Portland reach tentative 4-year agreement
The District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) has reached a tentative agreement with the City of Portland on a new four-year contract — four months before the current contract expires.
Labor’s makeover must start with the heart
Drawing on the ideas of a Berkeley professor, LERC Director Bob Bussel wants labor to shift the terms of the debate by getting re-grounded in union values.
Oregon AFL-CIO makes primary endorsements, appoints Byrd secretary-treasurer
At their March 10 quarterly meeting, Oregon AFL-CIO leaders approved several endorsements for the May primary, and appointed Barbara Byrd, a member of the American Federation of Teachers Local 2277, to the federation's number two leadership spot.

Union drive under way at Providence Health Systems
Service Employees International Union hopes to unionize 5,000 workers at Providence Health System in Oregon � starting with the 3,500 at Providence St. Vincent and Providence Portland hospitals, where registered nurses belong to the Oregon Nurses Association. But with Providence rejecting SEIU's call for "neutrality," it's likely to be a protracted campaign.

Unions invite politicians to learn ABCs of labor
Oregon's labor lobbyists ramped up their level of organization with a kind of "Unions 101" seminar March 7, in which they educated elected representatives and their staffs about why unions matter — and what matters to unions.

Washington County Corrections signs contract, averting a planned strike
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3913 have ratified their first contract with Washington County. Local 3913 represents about 30 employees at the Washington County Community Corrections Facility in Hillsboro. The union had been negotiating for over a year and workers had given 10 days’ notice and were preparing to strike March 6.

Oregon Lottery workers file for union election
Pro-union workers at the Oregon Lottery Commission have decided to move forward in their campaign to join SEIU, and are now asking the Oregon Employment Relations Board to conduct a union election.

Richmond Baking votes for Local 114
Bakery workers employed at Richmond Baking of Oregon voted March 1 to join the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union Local 114. The plant, located in McMinnville, produces organic cookies and crackers (including Pilot Crackers), batter mixes and other cracker products.