PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland city trade workers in six unions voted to authorize a strike after contract negotiations with the city were stalled for weeks.

The District Council of Trade Unions posted on Facebook that the unions saw a 91% member turnout with 86.17% voting to authorize the strike.

A strike by the DCTU would likely be felt in all aspects of city life as it would include more than 1,100 city workers from the bureaus that handle Portland’s water, transportation, development services, policing and finances.

DCTU is comprised of multiple unions, including AFSCME Local 189, IBEW Local 48, Operating Engineers Local 701, Machinists District Lodge 24, Plumbers Local 290 and Painters and Allied Trades District Council 5.

A list of the Portland bureau workers who are members of the District Council of Trade Unions as of January 10, 2022 (City of Portland)

The vote comes after union members and supporters held rallies in front of City Hall on Jan. 8 and by the PBOT office on Tuesday.

AFSCME President Rob Martineau told KOIN 6 News they “all provide critical services and they should not expect their workers to do that for less than the value of their labor. This isn’t a volunteer organization.”

In a statement issued earlier this month, city leaders said, in part, “We feel confident that the offer the City has provided the District Council of Trade Unions and its members meets many of the needs raised by the DCTU during the course of these negotiations.”

City officials said these members currently make a median wage of more than $73,000 a year and that their latest contract offer includes these key highlights:

  • A $3,000 bonus for all DCTU members
  • A retroactive 1.6% cost of living adjustment (July 2021)
  • A guaranteed 5% cost of living adjustment (July 2022 )
  • 1800 hours of City-paid union time per fiscal year

The union members have asked for longevity premiums, higher wages to keep up with inflation and to properly compensate people for their specialties.