April 6, 2007 Volume 108 Number 7

End of the Line
for Freightliner trucks

The last Freightliner commercial truck to be manufactured in Portland was driven off the assembly line at 8:15 p.m. March 29, taking with it 802 union jobs.
It was a bittersweet moment, pride mixed with pain, and was witnessed only by a few plant managers and about three dozen swing-shift factory workers, most of whom would be laid off the next day. The company brass who made the decision chose not to be there

Union wants to put stop to college shift to part-time, lower-paid faculty
Backed by their union, college teaching faculty are pushing a political fix that they hope will halt decades of downward mobility. Members of American Federation of Teachers' Higher Education Division say the the ivory tower of popular legend is turning into an academic factory that exploits its workforce. To cope with tight budgets, public colleges and universities around the country have shifted much of their class load to lower-paid part-time faculty who work without benefits on term-by-term, credit-by-credit contracts.
Carpenters go high-tech as they prepare for contract talks
To prepare for contract talks that begin later this month, the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters is going all out to recruit hundreds of worksite "captains" and mobilize members at two massive unity rallies, at which they'll give away a Chevy pickup and five flatscreen TVs. As talks progress, they plan to employ tech-savvy methods to keep members up to date.

Kitzhaber headlines meeting of union retirees
The Oregon chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans held its fourth annual convention March 17 at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in Northwest Portland. Delivering the keynot address was former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. An emergency room doctor from Roseburg, Kitzhaber launched the Archimedes Movement, a project to make basic health insurance coverage available to all Oregonians.

Unions in 7 countries meet in Portland to seek unity in bargaining with Boeing
Now that Boeing is outsourcing work on its new 787 "Dreamliner" to a worldwide web of suppliers, unions representing its workers are gearing up to go global as well. On March 26-27, union officials from seven countries met in Portland to form a global alliance of Boeing workers. Over a two-day span, union leaders from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the United States shared information and talked about ways to work more closely together.

Nearly 1,000 turn out for Providence Hospital union vigil
Close to 1,000 people took part in a March 21 candlelight vigil outside Providence Hospital in Northeast Portland. For two years, Service Employees International Union Local 49 has been trying to unionize about 6,000 employees at several Providence locations in the Portland area, but has faced opposition from hospital management. Providence Health & Services, with 27 hospitals in five states, does recognize unions for some workers at some locations, but also has a history of energetically opposing union drives.The vigil was called to put public pressure on Providence to agree to a set of union campaign ground rules.

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