June 5, 2009 Volume 110 Number 11
What ever happened to retirement?
America’s workers are facing a leaner retirement. Employer-guaranteed pension plans are cutting out frills. Individual savings accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s have lost a third or more of their value. And home equity, which many workers count on using in retirement, has been hit by a 10 to 30 percent drop in home prices.
Unions say Wyden’s health care bill is "sick"
Three of Oregon’s largest unions launched a radio advertising campaign in Portland and Eugene last month attacking a bill that U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is pushing to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
Labor at the table in cap and trade debate
Congress and the Oregon Legislature this year are looking at laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Representatives of organized labor are involved in those discussions at both levels. Their agenda is to maximize the creation of decently-paid “green jobs” and to minimize economic harm to workers in polluting industries.
SEIU’s Dale takes job in Geneva; Local 49 names Niemi president
Alice Dale, a longtime Oregon leader in SEIU, moved May 30 to Geneva, Switzerland after accepting a job as director of the Property Services Sector at UNI Global Union. SEIU Local 49 organizing director Meg Niemi was appointed to succeed her. Niemi could be Local 49’s last president: The union is discussing possible mergers with other SEIU locals.
OPEIU Local 11 members at NW Natural reject contract
Workers at NW Natural voted down the company’s five-year contract offer May 28 by 206 to 230, and are now working without a contract. The rejected proposal contained cost of living adjustments ranging from 1 to 6 percent, and a no-layoff pledge for workers hired before 2004.
Transit Union says CherryLift strike appears imminent
Workers who transprot the elderly and disabled for Salem Area Mass Transit District have been working under an extended contract since June 30, 2008. They voted May 29 to strike when OHAS stopped bargaining and notified the union that it was imposing its last offer. They last struck in 2006.
Vancouver city employees forego cost-of-living raises for two years
Members of four unions representing workers at the City of Vancouver have agreed to give up cost-of-living raises for the next two years.
Worker Freedom Act gets new life in Oregon Legislature
The Oregon Legislature is down to the last four weeks of its 2009 session. For labor, many closely-watched bills are still in the running, including the Worker Freedom Act, the Oregon AFL-CIO’s top priority. That bill was thought dead three weeks ago, but Senate Democratic leaders may have secured the votes to pass it.
Oregon unionists come up short in public elections
For local unions hoping to get members elected to non-partisan local offices, Oregon’s May 19 special election was a disappointment.
AFSCME criticizes Portland Police Department cuts
Portland Police Bureau plans to eliminate its Information & Referral Unit. The five-member unit has handled nearly 200,000 calls in the last two years.
Mayor reappoints Building Trades’ leader to PDC
John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council, has been appointed to a second term on the Portland Development Commission.
Cecil Tibbetts returns to AFSCME — in Washington
Former Oregon AFSCME Council 75 executive director Cecil Tibbetts has taken a job as director of negotiations for the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 in Olympia.