This press release just in from the District Council of Trade Unions in Portland:
Hundreds of city workers including water treatment operators, street pavers, sewer cleaners, and mechanics will converge in downtown Portland's Chapman Square on Wednesday afternoon for a free community concert and solidarity rally to draw attention to their current contract negotiations with the City of Portland. In support of their contract fight, union members and community supporters will call on City Council to weigh in on negotiations and direct management to bargain in good faith with the District Council of Trade Unions, a coalition of seven unions that operate jointly in bargaining with the City of Portland.
DCTU members have been working without a contract since July 1. Negotiations entered mediation on July 30. At issue is decades-old contract language protecting workers from arbitrary outsourcing to for-profit corporations and from unilateral changes in working conditions.
"Our union contract protects the taxpayers from the kind of cronyism we saw in the parking meter scandal," said Richard Beetle, Business Manager for Laborers Local 483, a DCTU affiliate union. "No one should be profiteering from our public services."
Over 1600 city workers are covered by the DCTU'S collective bargaining agreement, one of the oldest public employee contracts in the state. Although the DCTU and management bargaining teams have been meeting almost weekly since February, little progress has been made on the key issue of job security.
"We have to stop this race to the bottom in wages and working conditions," said maintenance worker Farrell Richartz. "That's why we're standing strong to protect the contract language that makes certain city work is done by people earning living wages and benefits."
Location: SW 4th and Madison
3:30 p.m. Free Concert by Randy Starr and the Players
4:30 p.m. City Worker Rally
5:00 p.m. March to City Hall