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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: May 23, 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 Events

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 


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. 


Must Read 

May 23, 2024 | Oregon AFL-CIO 

“Oregon Labor showed up in full force for the 2024 primary election this May 21st to help secure resounding victories for endorsed candidates across the state. Issues that matter most to working people and their families–like healthcare, housing, education, the environment, and a fair and just economy–were all on the line. “


Pacific Northwest Labor

May 21, 2024 | The Stand

“Beginning today at 5am, 1,100 Educational Student Employees at Western Washington University walked off the job and onto the picket line. Despite bargaining all day Monday, the University administration made little movement, still refused to agree to the ESEs’ demands for a fair contract, and walked out of negotiations. Hundreds of ESEs will gather at Old Main at 1pm for an action. Press is welcome to attend. Two years ago ESEs formed their union, Western Academic Workers United (WAWU-UAW), in response to the issues they face as they work their way through higher education. The union won recognition last June and has been bargaining a first agreement with the University administration since September.”


May 21, 2024 | The Daily Herald

“Boeing’s union firefighters will vote on a new contract Wednesday after Boeing presented them with an amended proposal.About 125 Boeing firefighters, who are members of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local I-66, are seeking a contract that includes competitive pay and better staffing. The union’s contract expired March 1.”


May 18, 2024 | Arizona Daily Sun

“More than 1,000 electricians in the Puget Sound region have been on strike for the past five weeks, disrupting construction at major job sites, including Microsoft and Amazon office buildings. Limited energy electricians with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46, are asking the National Electrical Contractors Association for paid holidays, more pay, and increased safety measures like ensuring radios are available on all job sites.”


May 18, 2024 | KIRO 7

“Around 300 union workers across Washington joined Boeing firefighters on the picket line in Seattle as workers urged the global aerospace company to provide better working conditions and pay. WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL EFFORTS: Boeing firefighters have been on the picket lines across Puget Sound since May 4 when the company announced its lockout.”


May 17, 2024 | People’s World

“Call it the ultimate in union-busting: If you can’t beat your workers, close up shop, literally the next day after you learn about the union’s organizing drive. That’s what bosses did to two popular cafes in Washington, D.C., and at two Montessori pre-schools in Portland, Ore.”


May 16, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Teachers at Ethos Music Center in North Portland voted 14-9 to join American Federation of Musicians Local 99 on April 24. Local 99 Secretary-Treasurer Mont Chris Hubbard says that makes it only the second music school in the nation to unionize. The other is Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, where staff joined American Federation of Teachers and reached a first union contract in 2022. Hubbard said the union campaign at Ethos was in part a response to recent instability and funding problems.”


May 16, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“A May 28-29 election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board will determine whether a majority of workers at local breakfast sandwich chain Fried Egg I’m In Love are ready to be represented by an independent union they’ve formed. Called Fried Egg Workers Union, it’s affiliated with Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the same union Burgerville Workers Union is affiliated with.”


Union Busting

May 22, 2024 | Center for Economic Progress

“Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year hiring professional union-busters to campaign against and defeat union organizing drives. However, only a fraction of this spending is publicly reported because of loopholes and other weaknesses in the law and its enforcement."

May 20, 2024 |  CounterPunch

“Workers in Towson, Maryland, have earned the distinction of becoming the first Apple retail workers in the nation to vote to strike over failed union negotiations with their employer. The approximately 100 Apple workers were also the first in the nation to successfully form a union. They did so in 2022, as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Two-thirds of the store’s workers voted to join the union, a resounding success at a company that has long staved off union activity. Apple could have embraced the Towson store union, respecting the legal right of its workers to bargain collectively for their rights. Instead, the company chose a depressingly familiar path of using its economic power to break labor laws and resist the union at all costs.”


Artificial Intelligence

May 21, 2024 | Reuters

“SAG-AFTRA, an influential body representing television and radio artists, on Tuesday backed Scarlett Johansson after the American actress raised concerns over the voice feature of a new OpenAI system that she said sounded "eerily similar" to her own. OpenAI unveiled its latest artificial intelligence model, GPT-4o, last week, featuring an audio-interacting persona named "Sky". Johansson said on Monday that she had previously turned down a request from the company to use her voice for this system. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman clarified that the voice belonged to a different professional actress and said he was removing Sky's voice from the company's products."


May 21, 2024 | Reuters

“According to a new survey from National Nurses United (NNU), 60% of nurses don't trust their employers to prioritize patient safety when implementing new artificial intelligence (AI) technology. For the survey, NNU gathered responses from over 2,300 RNs and members of the organization between Jan. 18 and March 4. In total, 40% of nurses said their employer had introduced "new devices, gadgets, and changes to the electronic health records" over the last 12 months. Half of respondents also said that their employers used algorithms based on electronic health record (EHR) data to determine patient acuity and need for nursing care."


May 16, 2024 | Center for American Progress

“As policymakers seek solutions to the current and future impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) on workers across the country, workers themselves are using their union bargaining power to negotiate contract provisions that prevent the elimination of jobs, place limits on surveillance and algorithmic management, and enable workers to benefit from productivity boosts offered by AI tools."


Organizing

May 18, 2024 | The Hollywood Reporter

“Another union is coming to Disneyland. On Saturday, a majority of the amusement park’s character workers voted to unionize with Actors’ Equity Association in a National Labor Relations Board vote, ushering more employees at Disneyland into the union fold. Nine hundred and fifty-three workers voted “yes” to join Equity, while 258 voted “no.” The parties now have several days to file any objections, and if none are submitted, the results will be certified. “They say that Disneyland is ‘the place where dreams come true,’ and for the Disney cast members who have worked to organize a union, their dream came true today,” Actors’ Equity Association president Kate Shindle said in a statement on Saturday.”


May 17, 2024 | The Washington Post

“It hurts to lose, of course, but we always see it as a temporary setback, not a loss,” Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest federation of unions, which includes the UAW, told The Post. “Sometimes it takes more than one try to form your union because the laws are so stacked against workers.”


May 16, 2024 | Bloomberg

“Workers at an Alabama electric bus plant have unionized and inked a contract with significant pay raises, another win for the US labor movement in the emerging green economy and the union-scarce South. The roughly 600 workers at the New Flyer factory formed a union with the Communications Workers of America earlier this year, joining a string of US organizing victories at its parent NFI Group Inc., North America’s biggest manufacturer of transit buses. The contract, ratified this week, will raise most employees’ pay by 25% to 38% by 2026, according to CWA. The contract also restricts forced overtime and expands paid time off to include more parental leave and a Juneteenth holiday.”


Politics

May 21, 2024 | The Hill

“Top U.S. labor unions are saying they’ve had enough of the Trump tax cuts and want them repealed. Unions including the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the Screen Actors Guild and the National Education Association joined dozens of progressive groups in sending a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday that blasted the Trump cuts as unfairly designed and fiscally irresponsible.”


May 21, 2024 |Financial Regulation News

“U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced legislation that seeks to protect the right of public employees to join unions and engage in collective bargaining on behalf of middle-class workers. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to overturn more than 40 years of legal precedent, effectively public employee unions of their ability to collect fees for representation they are legally required to provide workers. Since that Janus ruling many states have passed laws threatening workers’ rights and weakening unions.”


May 16, 2024 | CNN

“President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, enacting a law that aims to improve aviation safety and strengthen protections for passengers and airline workers. The legislation, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate last week, renews authority for the agency for the next five years and invests in air travel infrastructure nationwide.”


May 16, 2024 | Forward Kentucky

“Joe Biden has pledged repeatedly to go further than any of his predecessors with his support for U.S. labor rights. “I intend to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history,” Biden said at a White House meeting in September 2021 that brought together ordinary workers, labor leaders, and government officials. He has expressed this intention many times, sometimes clarifying his goals. For example, in 2023 he said in Chicago that his administration was “making it easier to empower workers by making it easier to join a union.” Based on my research regarding the history of organized labor in America, I would give Biden an A-minus for his record on workers rights.”


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