PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of city employees will be going on strike after negotiations with the City of Portland fail to reach a last-minute agreement.
Portland City Laborers, who have been negotiating a new deal since March of last year, represent more than 600 sewage, PBOT and parks workers.
The city tells KOIN 6 News that they met 19 times before turning to a mediator. But since there was no progress, the two sides were at an impasse and final offers were made in Dec. 2022.
The city also says it’s finalizing contingency plans to make sure essential services won’t be disrupted, but the union is skeptical of its ability to do so.
“We are talking about infrastructure that is highly unique. A lot of our skilled craftsmen are some of the best in the region and in the world at doing what they do. Even very competent professionals, without the background and the specific infrastructure, would falter,” said James O’Laughlen, who was a Portland city worker for six years.
The union will begin picketing at work sites just after midnight Thursday.
The city says they’re offering a minimum 12% raise for the workers, but the union says they took concessions in the pandemic.