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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: April 4, 2024

The Oregon Labor Dispatch is a weekly email and blog series designed to keep Oregon’s workers informed of the latest news about unions, worker power, and much more. Each week, we bring you a curated selection of news stories, graphics, and information about upcoming events and actions. When Oregon’s Labor Movement is connected, updated and informed we are able to be stronger advocates for all working Oregonians.


If you have a news story, event or action you’d like to see featured in the Oregon Labor Dispatch please email us at communications@oraflcio.org.



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Upcoming Actions & Events

Labor 2024 Primary Election Kickoff Canvass

Saturday April 13, 2024 at 10:00AM | Meet at the Oregon Labor Center in Portland

Join Oregon Labor to kick off election season at a canvass for Willy Chotzen. Chotzen is a former AFSCME member who is running for State Representative in House District 46. Coffee, lunch and training provided. 


OHSU Postdoc Picket

Tuesday April 16, 2024 from 12:00-2:00 PM | Elizabeth Caruthers Park in Portland

Join Oregon AFSCME and OHSU Postdoc Workers United to let OHSU know it's time to pay their fair share! 


Letter of Support for Ethos Music Center Teachers and Staff

Ethos Music Center workers will vote on joining AFM Local 99 on April 24th, 2024. Sign the letter of support here.


Workers Memorial Day

Friday April 26, 2024 at 9:30AM | Portland Fire and Rescue Station 21 in Portland

Friday April 26, 2024 at 12:00PM | Fallen Worker Memorial in Salem

The Oregon AFL-CIO will honor the 56 workers from across the state who lost their lives while doing their jobs in 2023 with ceremonies in Portland and Salem. For more information and to RSVP click here.


Must Read 

April 1, 2024 | AFL-CIO Statement 

“Every worker deserves the right to have a union representative, a workplace safety expert or another qualified advocate present during Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections. We applaud OSHA for finalizing its new Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process rule to level the playing field for America’s workers.” 


Oregon Labor 

April 4, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Workers at Tillamook County Transportation District on Feb. 10 unanimously ratified a five-year contract that raises starting wages about 22% over the life of the contract.”


April 3, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

Because the political season is upon us, now is the time to think about how power impacts our lives. The power we in labor amass provides a counterweight to the power of capital, of the owner class, or of “management.” Power enables us to challenge the supremacy of the few.


April 2, 2024 | Teamsters.org

“The Teamsters applaud Gov. Tina Kotek for signing into law HB 4127, a bill that will improve worker safety in the e-commerce and warehouse industries by ensuring that workplace quotas do not interfere with workers’ rights and safety standards. “Oregon warehouse workers have long been subjected to unsafe working conditions due to secretive and unrealistic production quotas generated using arbitrary computer algorithms,” said Mark Davison, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and President of Joint Council 37. “Governor Tina Kotek’s signing of HB 4127 is a significant stride toward ensuring the safety and well-being of workers, and it addresses the exploitative quota systems used by profit-driven companies like Amazon.”


April 1, 2024 | Public News Service

“Airport security officers in Oregon are celebrating what they say will be better working conditions, after ratifying a new collective bargaining contract. The American Federation of Government Employees Council 100, representing transportation security officers, has secured a new contract - that includes what it describes as improved language on progressive discipline, new uniform rights, and better leave conditions.” 


Artificial intelligence

March 31, 2024 | Politico 

“Shuler’s main goal — not easily accomplished, given the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence and the hurdles that unions still face — is for labor to have “a seat at the table,” as she puts, in the roll-out of AI, meaning she wants workers to have a voice in everything from how technology is developed to how it’s regulated to how it’s deployed in individual companies.” 


April 3, 2024 | Variety 

“For generations, industries with predominantly women and immigrant workforces—like the clothing and textile industry—have flouted the law, exposed workers to dangerous conditions, and failed to pay minimum wage and overtime. To create change, it has taken workers using their voices to fight for their basic rights. I’ve asked my team at the Department of Labor to use every tool we have to support and empower workers in that fight.”


March 28, 2024 | Variety 

“For generations, industries with predominantly women and immigrant workforces—like the clothing and textile industry—have flouted the law, exposed workers to dangerous conditions, and failed to pay minimum wage and overtime. To create change, it has taken workers using their voices to fight for their basic rights. I’ve asked my team at the Department of Labor to use every tool we have to support and empower workers in that fight.”


Organizing

April 3, 2024 | WHYY

“To draw attention to the struggles of adjunct or “contingent” faculty, instructors from Temple, University of the Arts, Community College of Philadelphia and several other schools will hold a rally outside City Hall on Friday with state Sen. Nikil Saval, state Rep. Rick Krajewski, and other supporters. “We’re keeping the focus on how the most vulnerable faculty are not only experiencing all of the instability and the political pressures that have been leveled at higher ed, but they’re also the ones bearing the brunt of these unnecessary cuts,” said Bradley Philbert, an adjunct at UArts and an officer with the United Academics of Philadelphia, an affiliate of the American.”


April 2, 2024 | The Hollywood Reporter

“As the Dodgers’ first year with Shohei Ohtani brings a new wave of fans to Vin Scully Ave., tour guides at the nearly 62-year-old stadium have voted to unionize. During a National Labor Relations Board election on Tuesday afternoon, 18 tour guides voted “yes” to unionize and 12 voted against. As a result, pending NLRB certification of the election results, a group of nearly 40 tour guides, tour leads and one plant data collector (a.k.a. the guide of the stadium’s “garden tour”) will join IATSE B-192, a growing Local that represents fellow tour guides at Universal Studios Hollywood and ushers at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Since the Dodgers Stadium group went public with their unionization drive, more tour guides have been hired and will ultimately be included in the union, according IATSE B-192.”


April 1, 2024 | Literary Hub

“Workers at the Oxford University Press Union are threatening to strike as negotiations with management continue to stall. The union has faced stiff resistance, and filed a successful complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that the Oxford University Press has broken the law by refusing to negotiate and by moving bargaining union work overseas. A strike may be next for the union as they continue to fight for better conditions and protections “to ensure the sustainability of OUP’s legacy and to serve as a model for fairness and stability across the industry.” Elsewhere, Barnes & Noble workers are gearing up to unionize more of the chain’s more than 600 stores. Organizing efforts have already been successful at seven stores, and workers are hoping to keep the momentum up and push for more.”


Politics

April 2, 2024 | People’s World

“The Republican House majority on the Education and the Workforce Committee—ideologues for whom “Labor” in its title was a dirty word so they removed it–attacked workers again. This time, they approved House Joint Resolution 116, the equivalent of a law if a president signs it, would abolish the Biden Administration Labor Department’s new rule that makes it much tougher for shady businesses to misclassify their workers as “independent contractors.”


April 1, 2024 | Newsweek

Tim Burga, president of the Ohio branch of the AFL-CIO—America's largest federation of unions—told Newsweek that once organized labor mobilizes around a candidate, unions can tap into their extensive networks and existing infrastructure, to spread political messages. Through worksite outreach campaigns, door-to-door volunteers, and manpower to deploy traditional campaign mailers, unions can play a pivotal part in turning out voters. With Brown's robust labor record, Burga expects him to garner support across the board, saying, "I couldn't even quantify. It's really strong."


Legislation

April 3, 2024 | City and State New York

“As the negotiations over a wage deal for a new developer incentive for affordable housing continue, several community groups and a union representing construction workers are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to codify a $40 minimum wage into state law for all construction workers who would work on projects receiving the new tax benefit. In statements shared exclusively with City & State, the Mason Tenders District Council and several employment-focused community groups are asking state officials to ensure that any replacement for the 421-a incentive program for developers includes a $40 minimum wage that would apply to all construction workers, both union and nonunion, who work on projects that benefit from the new program.”


April 2, 2024 | Vermont Public

“The Vermont Senate on Tuesday gave its unanimous approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that protects the rights of Vermont workers to organize and collectively bargain. The Senate vote is the first step in the constitutional process for this proposed amendment. Backers of the proposal said it ensures the rights of workers are not in any way scaled back by future legislatures or the federal government.”


April 3, 2024 | My Edmonds News

“Washington workers will soon gain some new rights, including protections against employers holding mandatory meetings on religious and political issues. “In Washington state, we protect that which we value. We value our workers and we value our working families,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, who signed a slate of workplace protection bills on Thursday. The Employee Free Choice Act makes Washington the sixth state to prohibit employers from disciplining or firing employees who refuse to attend “captive audience” meetings, which employers often use as a union-busting tactic.”


April 2, 2024 | The Cullman Times

“Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) is looking to stop the flow of state incentives to any company that voluntarily recognizes the union organization efforts of its employees. President of the North Alabama Labor Council Jacob Morrison said that to understand the effects SB231 could have, you would first need to understand how local unions are formed. Morrison said once 30% of a companies workers have signed a union authorization card they are able to call for a secret-ballot election either for or against unionization. As soon as that number crosses the 50% threshold, the election can be bypassed if the employer chooses to voluntarily recognize the majority decision.”


Labor Leadership 

April 1, 2024 | The Nevada Independent 

“Labor leader D. Taylor, whose four-decade career in union organizing included helping Culinary Workers Union Local 226 become a Nevada political power, stepped down after 12 years as president of UNITE HERE, the local’s 300,000-member parent organization. UNITE HERE said Taylor’s departure took effect Easter Sunday but didn’t make the announcement until Monday morning. “I believe the next generation of leaders should get their shot,” Taylor said. Taylor, 67, whose given name is Donald but has always gone by D., will continue to serve as chairman of the union’s health and welfare fund and support ongoing efforts to organize the gaming industry.”

Strikes

April 3, 2024 | WFMJ 

“It's been just over one week since 25 workers at T&W Stamping in Austintown went on strike for alleged unfair labor practices. As of Wednesday, we're told no negotiations have been reached yet and the strike is still going on. According to a press release from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, 25 workers in the Boilermakers Local 1622 union began an unfair labor practice strike on Monday, March 25 to protest illegal actions from T&W.”


April 3, 2024 | Green Market Report

“California-based marijuana delivery firm Eaze is facing a possible worker strike in the weeks leading up to April 20 over negotiations with drivers over mileage reimbursement and other outstanding issues, according to the national labor union that represents the workers. Four chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in California have been negotiating with Eaze on behalf of more than 500 cannabis delivery drivers since last August, according to a statement from the UFCW. Employees recently voted to reject Eaze’s “last, best, and final” contract offer, which it made on March 19. That vote authorizes the UFCW to initiate an employee strike, the union said.”




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