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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: May 16, 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!


 

Take Action Today

Portland City Council is considering proposals in late May that will determine the future of Portland’s beloved and iconic performing arts venue, the Keller Auditorium.These proposals have the potential to shutter this landmark entirely or for a prolonged period of time, which would deal an enormous blow to workers and the economy. During the pandemic the entertainment industry was hit especially hard with workers, performers, and businesses who rely on live entertainment all suffering disproportionately. We cannot afford to shut down the Keller again, decimate workers’ livelihoods, and strike another blow to Portland’s revitalization. 


The Community Alliance of Tenants wants to hear from you about the issues you care about right now. As we continue to combat predatory rent hikes, mass evictions, and bad-faith corporate landlords, it’s critical that we hear tenants across the state to inform the future of advocacy. We take your feedback seriously. Past feedback from Oregon tenants has helped us secure major victories like the Right to Cooling law, extend pandemic-era protections, and led to historic levels of investment into rent assistance while we continue to fight to make housing safe and affordable for all.


Upcoming Events

NALC Branch 82 32nd Annual MDA Labor Bowl

Sunday May 19, 2024 at 9:30AM to 12:30PM | Kingpins, 3550 SE 92nd  in Portland

Theme: Superheroes! There will be prizes for top fundraiser, top men's and women's total score, lowest total score and best superhero costume. Food: Pizza and sodas. All are welcome. Contact Branch 82 to join a team or submit your team of five. Call Branch 82 to pre-register (503)493-5903 or pay at the door. Bring donations for a silent auction from 10AM to 12PM. Cost: $60.00 minimum per bowler (with a goal of each bowler raising $100.00)


2024 Oregon Labor Organizing Summit

Thursday May 30, 2024 at 9:00AM to 4:00PM | 17230 NE Sacramento St. in Portland

The 2024 Organizing Summit is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for union members, leaders, and staff to come together to strategize and build community with other unionists, laying the foundation to organize. This year’s theme is Work, Life, Democracy: It’s Better in a Union because we know that when workers are members of a union, they are a part of something transformational that can create powerful change at work and in the community. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler is the keynote speaker of the event, and we will be joined by organizing experts from across the country. Participants at this year’s summit will have the opportunity to attend workshops on a wide range of topics related to organizing, learn best practices and strategies from organizers and workers. 


Registration fee: $50 per person.

Registration is limited to union members, leaders, and staff of unions.

To request registration information, please email us at communications@oraflcio.org 


Labor 2024 Events

Canvass for Phil Chang for Deschutes County Commissioner and Anthony Broadman for State Senate

Saturday May 18, 2024 at 10:00AM to 1:00PM | Meet at SEIU 503 Bend Office in Bend.

Join Oregon Labor at a canvass for Phil Chang for Deschutes County Commissioner and Anthony Broadman for State Senate. Coffee, lunch and training provided. Sign up to volunteer.


Get Out the Vote Canvass with Willy Chotzen for HD 46 and Dan Rayfield for Attorney General

Saturday May 19, 2024 at 10:00AM to 1:00PM | Meet at the Oregon Labor Center in Portland

Join Oregon Labor at a canvass for Willy Chotzen for State Representative in HD 46 and Dan Rayfield for Attorney General. Coffee, lunch and training provided. Willy Chotzen and Dan Rayfield will be there to kick off the event!


Get Out the Vote!

Monday May 20, 2024 and Tuesday May 21, 2024 | Meet at the Oregon Labor Center in Portland

Volunteer to knock on doors and make calls for a last push to get out the vote before the  May 21st 8PM voting deadline. Sign up to get a phone list or stop by the Oregon Labor Center to grab a turf on Monday 5/20 anytime between 11 and 5 or Tuesday 5/21 between 11 and 4. Sign up to volunteer.


 

Must Read 

May 16, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“In 2023, Oregon saw more NLRB union election filings per capita than any other state, only narrowly surpassed by Washington D.C. Organizing campaigns have taken root in Oregon in countless sectors — game workers, student workers, healthcare workers across a growing number of classifications, cannabis workers, and baristas to name a few — and they each provide lessons for our movement to learn and evolve. One of those lessons is that the labor movement must be doing everything in our power to invest in and prioritize organizing and growth, and that is precisely why we’re so excited to host our annual Oregon Labor Organizing Summit on May 30 at the LiUNA Local 737 union hall in Portland."


Oregon Labor

May 14, 2024 | The Register-Guard

“After 16 months of negotiations, a strike and unfair labor practice reports, nurses with PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services have ratified a four-year contract with PeaceHealth. The Oregon Nurses Association represents approximately 90 nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services in Springfield. These nurses serve over 500 patients and perform crucial home visits for vulnerable individuals in Lane County — some of whom are in the final days, weeks or months of their lives.”


May 13, 2024 | Stateline

“While graduate students and teaching assistants have been organizing since before the pandemic, large-scale undergraduate unions at public schools are new, joining recent moves by their counterparts at a number of private schools. Students, who often work next to unionized full-time employees, are looking for better pay, more predictable hours and benefits such as holiday and sick pay.”


May 12, 2024 | Willamette Week

“Last month, the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association filed formal charges with federal regulators, accusing Providence Health & Services of firing a physician assistant in retaliation for helping to push a successful unionization drive among medical providers at the health system’s urgent care clinics. A Providence spokesperson declined to comment. The charging document, filed April 15 with the National Labor Relations Board, accuses the health system of having “discharged [the PA] because the employee joined or supported a labor organization and in order to discourage union activities.”


May 9, 2024 | Oregon Center for Public Policy

“More than half of classified workers in Ashland schools surveyed are not able to make ends meet on their current salaries alone, union representatives said last week, with 52% surveyed saying they’ve had to take a second or third job to make ends meet. With the median pay for an Ashland School District classified worker tagged at $24,841 a year or $2,070 per month, many could be categorized as below the poverty line for a family of three. Those are bus drivers, IT workers, educational assistants, and janitors, and many can’t afford the average rent in Ashland, which Zillow says is $1,375 per month. One-third live outside of Ashland.”


May 8, 2024 | KOIN

“Legacy Health’s primary care providers could be the next to unionize. On Wednesday, a group of 150 workers across the healthcare company’s primary care clinics in Oregon and Southwest Washington sent union authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board. According to the Oregon Nurses Association, the physicians, physician associates and nurse practitioners plan to join the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association — part of the American Federation of Teachers.”


May 8, 2024 | KOIN

“Teachers and parents at two locations of Guidepost Montessori found out their day care facility was closing with less than 24 hours notice. The abrupt closures of the Tigard and Portland locations were announced April 7, shortly after staff at both locations announced they intended to unionize with ILWU Local 5.”


Washington Labor

May 14, 2024 |The Hill

“Thousands of academic student employees at the University of Washington (UW) went on strike on Tuesday, after union representatives and university officials failed to reach an agreement on wages Monday night. The union, United Auto Workers Local 4121, has held bargaining sessions with university officials since February, and all but one provision in the contract — wages — has been resolved.”


May 13, 2024 |Fox 28

“Spokane grocery store workers overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract in their first union negotiation. UFCW 3000 confirmed their new contract on May 2, expressing their excitement with the negotiations. “In the midst of a proposed grocery mega-merger, we’ve sent a clear message —We have power in our communities, we have a voice in our workplace, and we have a strong new contract that will be the backbone for our future,” UFCW 3000 said.”


May 13, 2024 | Reuters

At a rally outside Boeing headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, IAFF President Edward Kelly, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Representative Val Hoyle urged Boeing to make a deal. Shuler said Boeing "is looking to establish a pattern and if we can start here with the firefighters it might trickle over to a bigger impact with another union." She added having skilled firefighters was crucial for Boeing. "What makes the company safer ultimately makes the company more trusted and more profitable," Shuler said.”


May 10, 2024 | The Columbian

“The Washington State Nurses Association has filed an unfair labor practice charge against PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center on behalf of the 1,465 nurses the union represents at the Vancouver hospital.

The union filed the charge April 24, alleging PeaceHealth violated the National Labor Relations Act by interfering with employee rights and engaging in bad faith bargaining.”


May 10, 2024 | The Stand

“A supermajority of Educational Student Employees at Western Washington University (WWU) voted resoundingly by 93 percent to authorize their union’s elected bargaining committee to call a strike if significant progress is not made in their negotiations for a first contract. Seventy-three percent of the entire unit cast votes, with a total of 686 Yes, and 55 No. The 1,100 Educational Student Employees at WWU are members of Western Academic Workers United-United Auto Workers (WAWU-UAW). The union won recognition last June and has been bargaining a first agreement with the University administration since September.”


Union Busting

May 13, 2024 |  The Guardian

“The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is setting its sights on its next big union victory in the south, at two Mercedes-Benz plants in Vance and Woodstock, Alabama. Coming off the historic union election win at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 5,200 workers are to begin voting in their union election from 13 May to 17 May. The UAW’s recent win at Volkswagen to represent about 4,300 workers was one of the biggest union election wins in manufacturing in the past 16 years.”


May 11, 2024 |  Truthout

“As they perform Swan Lake, dancers at Miami City Ballet in Florida have been facing a union-busting campaign from the company’s management. Their case went to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which ruled on May 8 in favor of the dancers seeking to unionize, clearing the way for a union election on May 14. These dancers are just one group in a wave of ballet companies unionizing with the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). But in Miami, organizing dancers endured significant challenges.”


May 9, 2024 |  Reuters

“Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been accused by a U.S. labor agency of discouraging workers at a Buffalo, New York assembly plant from union organizing by barring them from using phones and other devices, an agency spokeswoman said on Thursday. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official issued a complaint late Wednesday claiming Tesla's workplace rule banning personal technology use, recording, and storing or sharing content violates U.S. labor law, according to the spokeswoman, Kayla Blado.”


Collective Bargaining

MAy 14, 2024 | The Street

“While the early days of aviation helped cement the image of the glamorous flight attendant, the reality often could not be farther from it. Despite dealing with unpredictable hours and increasingly difficult passengers, flight attendants often have salaries that are nothing to write home about — Labor Department data shows that the average flight attendant in the U.S. earned just over $63,000 last year. "While Alaska Airlines executives reward themselves with millions in bonuses, frontline Flight Attendants literally have to choose between buying groceries and paying their bills," AFA Alaska President Jeffrey Peterson said in a statement on the findings. “By dragging out contract negotiations, management is harming Flight Attendants. Enough delay. We demand a fair contract now."


Organizing

May 15, 2024 | Non Profit Quarterly

“When one thinks of unions within the media industry, film and television actors and reporters likely come to mind. These sectors have been highly unionized for decades, mainly through SAG-AFTRA, NewsGuild-CWA (Communication Workers of America), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and the Writers Guild of America. Even newer iterations of these fields—like digital journalism—have had recent organizing gains.”


May 11, 2024 | The Wall Street Journal

“For two decades, Jeremy Kimbrell and his co-workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama could expect to hear the same thing when they raised concerns about pay, time off or working conditions: With no college degree, you should just be happy to have a job. Those days might be over. Roughly 5,000 hourly employees of the Tuscaloosa-area facility are set to vote starting Monday on whether to join the United Auto Workers. Just last month, 73% of employees who cast ballots at Volkswagen’s slightly smaller plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., opted to unionize, a first for a foreign-owned auto factory in the South. The vote in the week ahead will be a pivotal moment in the UAW’s organizing blitz in the South’s booming auto industry.”


May 9, 2024 | WABE

“On May 1, around 50 Atlanta drivers for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft joined a nationwide protest asking for higher wages and more worker protections. A handful of picketers were outside the state Capitol holding signs such as “App Workers Want a Union.” Justice For App Workers is a group leading drivers to push for a fairer pay structure and improved safety. Organizers also say drivers of color are disproportionally deactivated from apps, losing their opportunity to work.”


Politics

May 15, 2024 | The Hill

“After talking to advocates, critics, academics, labor groups, civil rights leaders, stakeholders, developers, and more, our working group was able to identify key areas of policy that have bipartisan consensus. Now, the work continues with our Committees, Chairmen, and Ranking Members to develop and advance legislation with urgency and humility,” Schumer said in a statement.”


May 14, 2024 | HuffPost

“After Georgia approved its bill, Liz Shuler, the president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, called the legislation “appalling,” and said it undermines the “fundamental freedoms” of both workers and employers. Labor groups could mount legal challenges to the laws on the grounds that they conflict with the National Labor Relations Act, the federal law covering collective bargaining in the private sector. Benjamin Sachs, a labor law professor at Harvard Law School, recently told HuffPost that he believed state laws like Alabama’s will probably be overridden by the federal law.”


May 14, 2024 | Yahoo! Finance

“It's created an unlevel playing field for workers where you have an auto worker struggling to keep a good job in the auto industry because they're competing against a country that's taking advantage of manipulating their currency or instituting unfair practices," American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Liz Shuler tells Yahoo Finance Executive Editor Brian Sozzi. The AFL-CIO is America's largest union federation comprised of 60 unions — both domestic and international — and over 12 million employed and retired workers. Shuler provides several examples of the methods China has used to undermine American workers, including steel and aluminum producers, while outlining the trust union leaders have in President Biden.”


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