PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Voting by Portland city employees in 6 labor unions whether to authorize a strike ends Wednesday, with results expected to be announced Thursday. The strike vote started after their contract negotiations reached an impasse.
The biggest impacts from a strike by the District Council of Trade Unions would be to bureaus that handle Portland’s water, transportation, development services, policing and finances. It would also have ripple effects on all aspects of city life if more than 1100 city workers are out on the picket line.
Because of the pandemic, some voting was in person, some was online.
The 6 unions involved in the voting are 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.
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.”
“All of those things are going to be a direct impact to folks in the city of Portland,” Martineau said.
In a statement, 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 contract offer includes these key highlights:
- A $1,500 bonus for all DCTU members
- A retroactive 1.6% cost of living adjustment (July 2021)
- An anticipated 5% cost of living adjustment (July 2022 )
But Martineau said they’ve asked for longevity premiums, higher wages to keep up with inflation and to properly compensate people for their specialties.