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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: March 14, 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

Informational Picket at Providence Newberg

March 18 starting at 5:00pm | Providence Newberg Medical Center 

Nurses in Newberg, part of Providence Health System, are rallying for fair contracts as their negotiations have stalled since December, advocating for improved benefits, wages, and staffing provisions to enhance standards for nurses, patients, and communities. The culmination of their efforts will be a May rally, uniting healthcare workers from five newly organized units in their fight for equitable agreements.


Support Postdoc Researchers at OHSU in Contract Negotiations

March 20 starting at 12:00pm | OHSU, Mac Hall Lawn in Portland 

OHSU can budget to buy Legacy Hospital but won't pay 1 cent for research!  Help union members at OHSU send a message to OHSU to pay their fair share. 


Informational Picket at Providence St. Vincent 

March 20 starting at 5:00pm | Providence St. Vincent in Portland

Nurses at Providence, Oregon's largest healthcare system, are advocating for improved standards, including better health benefits and wages, as their contract negotiations have stalled since December. In response, they plan to hold informational pickets across the state to show solidarity in their pursuit of fair contracts, culminating in a rally in May involving healthcare workers from newly organized units.


PCCFCE READY TO STRIKE! - Practice Picket & Board Meeting

March 21st starting at 4:00pm | PCC Sylvania Campus in Portland On March 21st, 2024, the PCC Federation of Classified Employees (the union representing non-faculty employees such as custodians, IT, assistants, etc at Portland Community College) will be conducting a practice picket and presenting their strike pledge to the PCC board at the board meeting that follows. 


A Discussion with Anne Broyles, Author of I’m Gonna Paint: Ralph Fasanella, Artist of the People

March 28 starting at 5:00pm | Oregon Labor Center in Portland

Please join the Oregon AFL-CIO and the Oregon Labor Movement for an engaging discussion with Anne Broyles, the author of I’m Gonna Paint: Ralph Fasanella, Artist of the People.  Anne’s book is about the visionary folk artist and labor organizer Ralph Fasanella and is perfect for picture book readers because of its stunning illustrations.  Click here to learn more & RSVP. 


Oregon Labor & Politics 

March 14, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Scabby the Rat, the fearsome 10-foot-tall union inflatable, has lately been keeping vigil outside a surprising target — one of Oregon’s largest union employer associations. “Shame on Associated General Contractors,” says the banner next to the rat. Set up by Operating Engineers Local 701 outside the Wilsonville headquarters of the Oregon-Columbia chapter of Associated General Contractors (AGC), the banner responds to an effort by AGC to squash a new commitment by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to use union labor.”


March 14, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Spread out over the entryway at the Oregon Labor Center, an inspiring new mural took shape this January. The project was a collaboration between Oregon AFL-CIO communications director Russell Sanders and a talented union sign painter, Bob Hansen.”


March 14, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Organized labor notched several legislative wins in the five-week “short session” of the Oregon Legislature that ended March 7.”


March 13, 2024 | SAG-AFTRA 

“The content creators at Oregon Public Broadcasting and KMHD Jazz Radio have formed a union with SAG-AFTRA. Over 80% of the OPB and KMHD content creators signed the petition to unionize. They include on-air staff, hosts, reporters and digital, audio and video producers who are dedicated to telling the most interesting, important and engaging stories through radio, TV and online.”


March 12, 2024 | AFSCME 

“Oregon lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed a bill that would make an historic investment in the state’s public safety workers. The Oregon Legislature passed HB 4045, the Public Safety Workforce Stabilization Act, with bipartisan support in the House and the Senate earlier this week. That marks a significant step forward in prioritizing the dedicated workers who serve on the front lines of public safety by allowing them to retire with enhanced benefits.”


March 12, 2024 | Oregon AFL-CIO 

“We’re so proud to be a part of the coalition of Labor, environmental groups, fisheries and developers to get House Bill 4080 across the finish line during the 2024 session,” said Graham Trainor, President of the Oregon AFL-CIO.  “As the Oregon economy shifts toward greener energy sources, it is essential that the workers are protected every step of the way.  House Bill 4080 ensures strong labor standards for construction, operations, maintenance and manufacturing jobs including the highest level of worker training and earn-as-you-learn apprenticeships, living wages, and family supporting healthcare.  This bill is an example of how Oregon Labor can provide a strong voice for all working people, as well as the communities in which they live and work.”


March 7, 2024 | Portland Business Journal 

“Senate Bill 1595, called the Family Financial Protection Act, protects more of a person's wages and bank account when they're trying to repay debt.”


2024 Elections

March 12, 2024 | Michigan Public

“Some Michigan senior citizens are criticizing former President Donald Trump for suggesting this week he would find ways to cut spending on Social Security and Medicare if elected in November. Monday, during an appearance on CNBC, Trump was asked about long-term solvency issues for Social Security and Medicare.”


Pay Equity 

March 12, 2024 | AFL-CIO 

“Today, as we observe Equal Pay Day, we are reminded of the persistent injustice faced by working women across our nation. It is unacceptable that for the past 20 years the gender wage gap has remained largely unchanged as big corporations and the wealthy—along with many Republicans—resisted change. But a new wave of hope and organizing is building in the fight for equality, and the labor movement knows that when working people stand together in a union we have the strength and power to demand equal pay for equal work. “


March 12, 2024 | NPR

“Equal Pay Day has come around again, and it feels a little like Groundhog Day. Despite the annual reminder about how far into the new year women have to work to earn as much as men made the previous year, the wage gap remains persistent. Women working full time, year-round earn 84 cents for every dollar men make, inching up from 83.7 cents last year, according to the latest numbers from the Census Bureau.”


Organizing 

March 13, 2024 | American Theatre

“After Sarala Pool worked a design internship in college, she dreamed of working Off-Broadway. She wanted to harness her skills to make magic happen onstage at places like the Public Theater. Her dream came true as assistant prop manager on Suffs in 2022, but the job, like all Off-Broadway gigs, was short-lived. She left it scrambling for another job with health insurance as the coverage from her parents expired.”


March 13, 2024 | News Center Maine 

“Bowdoin College student workers trying to form a union have filed a labor complaint, alleging the college threatened to retaliate against them and promised better working conditions if they ditch the effort. A majority of the college's "ResLife" student housing workers last week submitted a petition to college President Safa Zaki announcing plans to unionize in a bid to obtain higher pay. The college on Friday declined to voluntarily recognize the union, meaning the National Labor Relations Board will oversee a union election set for April 3.”


March 11, 2024 | Game Developer 

"Microsoft continues to keep its commitment to let workers decide for themselves whether they want a union," said CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. "Time and again, other big companies in the industry have made the decision to undermine and attack their own employees when they join together to form a union. Microsoft's choice will strengthen its corporate culture and ability to serve its customers and should serve as a model for the industry."


March 11, 2024 | CNN

“The Dartmouth College men’s basketball team achieved a significant milestone last week when they became the first college athletes to vote to join a union. But they are only a small part of a much larger trend – that of college and graduate students voting in big numbers to join unions in their on-campus jobs.”


March 11, 2024 | KOLO

"The Patagonia Store in Reno has voted to become the first such store in the nation to form a union. The store, located at 130 S Center Street, will be joining the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 711.”


March 11, 2024 | HuffPost

“Prosecutors at the National Labor Relations Board say Trader Joe’s illegally interrogated workers and threatened to take away their pay raises when they were trying to form a union last year. The alleged threats came in the run-up to a January 2023 election at a Louisville, Kentucky, store where workers voted in favor of joining a new union, Trader Joe’s United. The company has challenged the election results by claiming the union illegally influenced the vote.”


Labor Law 

March 10, 2024 | The Guardian 

“Upset by the surge in union drives, several of the best-known corporations in the US are seeking to cripple the country’s top labor watchdog, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), by having it declared unconstitutional. Some labor experts warn that if those efforts succeed, US labor relations might return to “the law of the jungle”.


Collective Bargaining 

March 12, 2024 | Government Executive 

“Employees at the Transportation Security Administration on Monday voted to ratify a new union contract with agency leadership that streamlines dispute resolution processes and expands policies promoting work-life balance like shift-trading.”


Labor by the Numbers

March 12, 2024 | Pew Research Center

“Majorities of Americans see the large reduction in the share of workers represented by unions over the past several decades as a bad thing for both the country and working people in the United States. 54% of U.S. adults say the decline has been bad for the country. 59% say this has been bad for working people.”


The Building Trades

March 11, 2024 | Finance & Commerce

“Rosey Grab is a fourth-generation operating engineer who’s spent the past few years running cranes on MnDOT’s massive Twin Ports Interchange project in Duluth as a journeyman crane operator for Kraemer North America.  Before changing careers, Grab spent 20 years stringing together low-paying jobs — as many as five at one point — to help support her family of six. Retail, nonunion manufacturing, bartending, educational aide: She did it all.”


The Economy 

March 8, 2024 | NELP 

“One of the most crucial forces driving the nation’s job growth and economic vitality over the last year has been immigration,” said Rebecca Dixon, president and CEO of the National Employment Law Project (NELP). “Yet immigrant workers are also at the center of a growing crisis of workplace abuse, with undocumented and temporary visa migrant workers among the most vulnerable to abuses including wage theft, health and safety risks, child labor violations, and retaliation from employers. That’s why it’s critical that immigrant workers have the power to demand respect and dignity and fully enforce their workplace rights.”


Labor & Technology 

March 12, 2024 | Axios 

“Unionized bus drivers have negotiated an unprecedented labor deal with a local transit agency that gives them veto power over autonomous vehicles (AVs). Why it matters: It's one way labor unions hope to protect drivers' jobs, even amid driver shortages — and part of a broader backlash against self-driving vehicles.”


Made in America 

March 14, 2024 | AFL-CIO 

“The most pro-union president in our lifetime once again today showed he stands firmly with working people. President Biden promised steelworkers he’d always have their backs, and that’s precisely what he did today with his call to keep U.S. Steel American owned and operated.”


March 13, 2024 | WDIO 

“On Tuesday, the United Steelworkers filed a Section 301 trade petition, calling on the United States Trade Representative to start an investigation of Chinese commercial shipbuilding. They also hosted a press conference about this topic on Tuesday. USW International President Dave McCall said the petition is 4000 pages. “If we do not act soon, we will be dependent on China, not only for the products on the vessels. But also for the ships themselves. The filing is a broad indictment. It also identifies steps taken to restore capabilities and capacity for jobs. It’s time to fight back.”


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