3, 2006 Volume
107 Number 5
Oregon labor unions joined a widening outcry over the Bush Administration-
approved sale of major port operations in six U.S. cities to the United
Arab Emirates-owned Dubai Ports World. More than 150 unionists rallied
at Terminal 6 in North Portland on Feb. 24 — part of a nationwide
event called by the Teamsters, which represents thousands of drivers
who work in and around America’s ports. In a statement read
at the Portland rally, Oregon U.S. Rep. David Wu, said, “The
U.S. prohibits foreign ownership of our airlines and good farmland.
We should consider applying such laws to our nation’s ports.”
building trades unions form Construction Alliance
Laborers and Operating Engineers left the AFL-CIO Building and Construction
Trades Department on March 1 to establish the National Construction
Alliance with the Carpenters, Teamsters, Bricklayers and Iron Workers.
The new alliance will represent roughly 2 million construction workers
Warning: Merger madness in utility industry threatens reliability
August, the Public Utility Holding Company Act was repealed. Now,
a monster storm of utility consolidation is gathering on the horizon.
For the utility customer who expects reliable service, for the utility
employee who depends on a stable employer, for the retiree who relies
on a regular dividend from a “safe” utility stock, there
may be no safe harbor when the storm arrives.
County employees union rejects Linn, backs Wheeler for county chair
The union that
represents most workers at Multnomah County announced it will back
Ted Wheeler for county chair. Wheeler is running against incumbent
chair Diane Linn, which had the union's backing in two previous races.
Local 88 also endorsed Gary Hansen and Steve March for county offices,
and declined to endorse Bernie Giusto, running unopposed for re-election
as Multnomah County sheriff.
considered for vacant AFL-CIO post; COPE to plan political agenda
the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive, General and COPE boards meet March
10 in Portland, they will appoint a new secretary-treasurer and
discuss political campaign endorsements. Oregon AFL-CIO President
Tom Chamberlain has proposed Barbara Byrd be appointed to fill the
vacant position. Byrd is a member of the American Federation of
Teachers-Oregon and the Portland Center coordinator of the University
of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center.
recognized as advocate for 6,000 Oregon child care workers
International Union Local 503 will have a role representing 6,000
unlicensed in-home child care providers in Oregon, thanks to an executive
order signed by Governor Ted Kulongoski.
staff set March 6 strike in Washington County
30 community corrections workers in Hillsboro voted more than a year
ago to form AFSCME Local 3913. They have been unable to reach agreement
on a first contract.
School District contracts out custodial jobs
Hillsboro School District custodians and groundskeepers were terminated
Feb. 24 as part of a district plan to save money by contracting out.
The work will now be done by Somers Building Maintenance, a union
employer where workers belong to SEIU Local 49. The fired workers
were members of American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, which resisted
the plan to contract out for eight months before relenting when it
appeared the district was prepared to impose its final offer without
the workers’ consent.
upholds ban on piecemeal-paid signature-gatherers
The U.S. Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 22 upheld 2002’s Ballot Measure
26, the union-sponsored measure that bans initiative signature-gatherers
from being paid for each signature collected — a practice which
had led to widespread documented fraud and abuse.
regular column by Tim Nesbitt
ABCs of our health care crisis
report that health care has supplanted jobs and education as the
Number One concern of Oregonians. Our health care crisis is two-fold.
Too many people don’t have insurance, and those who have it
are paying more than they can afford in premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
These two problems are connected, and they’re both problems
that our government is going to have to solve.