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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: February 15, 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.



Keep up with the latest from Oregon’s unions: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


🗓️Upcoming Events 

🏫 Support Portland Community College Federation of Classified Employees

The PCCFCE has been bargaining for a year and their contract expired in July of 2023. Urgent issues for classified staff are short staffing, wages that haven’t kept pace with inflation, and healthcare affordability. Please join PCCFCE members at a series of escalating actions on PCC campuses this month and keep up the pressure until a fair contract is reached! 


PCC SYLVANIA CAMPUS: Tuesday, February 20: 12:30-1:30pm

12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland, OR 97219

Meeting Location: Plaza in front of PAC Center


PCC SOUTHEAST CAMPUS: Wednesday, February 21: 12:30-1:30pm

2305 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97216

Meeting Location: Front of Library (on Division St side)


🖤Black History Month 

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists: Black History Month Events 

Ongoing throughout February both on Zoom and in person in Portland The Oregon Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) cordially invites you to join us for a month-long recognition of Black excellence in conjunction with the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, Portland Rising, Oregon AFSCME, and AFRAM/SEIU Local 503. The primary focus is health care. 

  • February 15, 2024 at 6:30pm: Health Care Forum 

  • February 22, 2024 at 6:30pm: Labor History Workshop (In Person at Oregon AFL-CIO)

  • February 29, 2024 at 7:00pm: Movie Night (In Person at SEIU Local 503) 


🗺️Strike Map 

Make sure to help support the Oregon Nurses Association’s strike at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care services in Springfield, which ends on February 23.  Click here to download the map as a PNG or PDF file.





If your union is planning to strike, please send a message to communications@oraflcio.org to help us spread the word and mobilize support for your strike. 


Must Read 

February 13, 2024 | WKZO

“Michigan has become the first state to repeal the right-to-work law as the repeal takes effect today. It was passed in 2013 under former Governor Rick Snyder when the state House and Senate were firmly under Republican control and was repealed last year after Democrats took the majority in both chambers.”


Pacific Northwest Labor 

February 13, 2024 | Central Oregon Daily News 

“Three separate unions representing flight attendants at major U.S. airlines are picketing and holding rallies at 30 airports on Tuesday as they push for new contracts and higher wages. The flight attendants are increasingly frustrated that pilots won huge pay raises last year while they continue to work for wages that, in some cases, have not increased in several years.”


February 12, 2024 | Labor Notes

“Grocery and retail workers helped win the strongest tenant protections in Washington state last November for the 100,000 renters in the city of Tacoma. First we had to beat the mayor’s and city council’s attempt to bring a competing watered-down ballot measure. And then we had to overcome a vicious and deceptive landlord opposition that smashed all previous political spending records in Tacoma. “We’ve created incredible goodwill in the community just as we gear up for a tough contract fight,” said Michael Whalen, who helped initiate the campaign as a dairy clerk and shop steward at Fred Meyer.”


February 12, 2024 | Oregon Capital Insider 

“State and federal officials have been in talks to replace the bridge for at least 25 years. The $5 billion to $7.5 billion project is picking up speed again a decade after Republicans in the Washington state senate derailed it, but it already faces criticism for its climate impact and possible tolling costs for drivers.”


February 12, 2024 | Oregon Capital Chronicle 

“Oregonians largely support striking teachers more than their unions, want schools to ensure students can read by third grade and don’t think the Legislature should hold greater authority to intervene in district budgets or teacher bargaining, according to a new survey.”


February 8, 2024 | KEZI 

“Former students and faculty from nearly every one of Oregon’s seven public universities told lawmakers this week the state’s higher education system is broken, with students unable to afford housing, relying on Medicaid and food assistance and strapped with mounting debts.”


Labor by the Numbers

February 13, 2024 | Bloomberg Law 

“Two new statistical analyses of Bloomberg Law data show that workers are engaging in organizing and picketing activity at a magnitude that hasn’t been seen in the US labor market in years. Unions organized almost 100,000 workers in National Labor Relations Board representation elections in 2023, according to Bloomberg Law’s semiannual report on NLRB election statistics. The total of 99,116 newly organized workers is the largest single-year cohort since 2000, and the fourth largest since at least 1990.”


Organizing 

February 14, 2024 | More Perfect Union 

“This year, Illinois may soon join them, with a bill called the Worker Freedom of Speech Act. The bill is a top priority for both the state AFL-CIO as well as Sen. Robert Peters, the bill’s primary sponsor and the chair of the Senate Labor Committee. (Rep. Marcus Evans, the House Labor and Commerce Chair, has introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives.)”


February 14, 2024 | Chicago Sun-Times

“Employees at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago are forming a union and joining a wave of labor organizing among cultural workers in the city and across the U.S. in recent years. MCA employees on Wednesday announced their new union with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.”


February 13, 2024 | Modern Retail

“Workers at a ninth REI location have voted to unionize, this time in Indianapolis, Indiana. And while none of the units have secured a contract yet, the win is another victory for the worker-led labor movement that is cropping up in retail stores. National Labor Relations Board records show the vote held Friday came in 27-17, indicating an approval rate of 61%. The store is located in Castleton, one of the largest and busiest shopping areas in the state.”


February 13, 2024 | KGW 

“Workers who bring Disneyland’s beloved characters to life — including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Cinderella — are looking to unionize. Labor organizers announced the campaign Tuesday, saying performers want better safety conditions and scheduling policies to help keep the magic alive for visitors.”


February 13, 2024 | The Hollywood Reporter 

“The Animation Guild is organizing production workers at DreamWorks Animation and at Flying Bark Productions. The guild (IATSE Local 839) sent a letter to DreamWorks Animation on Feb. 7 and filed for recognition with the National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 9 to represent 162 production workers at the studio.”


Politics 

February 13, 2024 | People’s World 

“The choice in the 2024 general election is between democracy and dictatorship, not just between Democratic President Joe Biden and presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump, the White House denizen whom Biden beat four years ago. So says Terry Melvin, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the most outspoken speaker to address the Government Employees (AFGE) Legislative Conference in D.C. on February 12.”


February 8, 2024 | AFL-CIO 

““The AFL-CIO condemns the attacks by Hamas on October 7th and calls for a negotiated cease-fire in Gaza—including the immediate release of all hostages and provision of desperately needed shelter, food, medicine and other humanitarian assistance to Gazans—and reaffirms our support of a two-state solution for long-term peace and security.”


Strikes 

February 14, 2024 | Los Angeles Daily News

“Labor unrest erupted at two Southland locations Wednesday, Feb. 14 as LAX food and beverage workers launched a three-day strike over wage concerns, and LA Grand Hotel workers also walked off the job, demanding higher wages and increased staffing. The actions highlight a wave of union activity that has swept Southern California in recent years as employees at restaurants, hotels and healthcare facilities rally for wages allowing them to keep pace with the region’s soaring housing costs.”


February 13, 2024 | Forbes 

“With a participation rate of roughly 93%, Alaska flight attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) voted 99.48% in favor of authorizing a strike, amid the flight attendants’ negotiations with Alaska Airlines for a new contract.”


Labor & Community 

February 14, 2024 | The Sand Paper 

“This past year witnessed a renewed enthusiasm for and interest in labor movement action, such as the New Jersey nursing union strike at Robert Wood Johnson and national attention for the United Auto Workers and writers and actors in Hollywood. However, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 10% of American workers are union members.”


February 14, 2024 | People’s World 

“The first thing most people think about when they hear the word “fashion” isn’t labor unions. Likewise, when people hear about labor unions, they normally don’t think about fashion. Yet, the two are inextricably connected via one key link: working-class people. I recently interviewed Justine Medina, a Cuban-American woman, activist, and rank-and-file organizer for the Amazon Labor Union at the JFK8 Amazon Fulfillment Center in Staten Island, N.Y. She helped clarify what unions do and why they’re important.”


Fighting Wage Theft 

February 14, 2024 | The Guardian 

“For years, Cristian Céspedes worked as a foreman for a construction contractor, Unforgettable Coatings, in Las Vegas, where he and his co-workers often worked over 60 hours a week without overtime pay. He recalls having to tell workers who were injured on the job that they had to deal with the injury and pay for medical care themselves. He knew the treatment and conditions imposed on himself and his co-workers were wrong, but he didn’t know he could do anything about it.”


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