Unions, Strikes and Workers

Dear ROPnet,

A basic standard of living is critical to a thriving democracy. After years of deregulation and tax breaks for the wealthy, inequality is at a record high. In response, workers are organizing and harnessing the power of unions to win improved conditions on the job and in their communities. Many unions have been winning! Sheet Metal workers in Local 16 won a $23.25-per-hour increase in compensation (including wages and benefits) in their new four-year contract. Columbia Memorial nurses in Clatsop County reached a tentative agreement that increases retirement benefits and safer staffing levels after voting to move forward with a strike in early October. Listen to more details about summer strike activity on the Oregon Center for Public Policy’s September podcast.

Are you involved in a union that needs community support? Is your group supporting a local union or looking to get involved in strike support? Reach out to us at sidra@rop.org and we can help spread the word! 

Ongoing Union Organizing

Stay up to date with union organizing by following the Oregon AFL-CIO’s weekly updates over emailFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The AFL-CIO, or the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, is a national organization that unites many of the unions in the U.S. under one body. 

Bend Education Association and Oregon School Employees Association have been working without contracts in the Bend-La Pine School District since this summer. In an article in the Bend Bulletin, Sarah Barclay, president of the Bend Education Association, said “It’s been a tough start. Working without a contract is hard, and folks don’t feel valued when they’re starting off the year with that piece of instability in their lives.” On Oct 30, the bargaining team met with school district representatives and made some progress, but still has a long way to go. Follow them on Facebook for updates, and show up on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. at the School District Building (across from the Downtown Library: 520 NW Wall St) to show support.

In Corvallis, members of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 701 have been on strike since September 11. The employees of a Republic Services subsidiary are picketing outside of the Coffin Butte landfill from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Click here for directions to the picket line.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 are on strike at Kaiser. Members began an Unfair Labor Practices strike at Kaiser pharmacies on October 1 and will continue to picket until November 18. They are picketing at the following locations daily from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.:

  • Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center Campus, Clackamas (map)
  • Kaiser Westside Medical Center Campus, Hillsboro (map)
  • Kaiser Regional Lab in NE Portland (map)
  • Kaiser Airport Way Center in NE Portland (map)

United Auto Workers (UAW) Stand Up Strike at the Big 3 Automakers: While UAW members secured a tentative agreement with Ford on October 27, UAW members at the Chrysler Parts Distribution Center in Beaverton, alongside UAW locals around the country, are continuing to strike until a fair contract is reached with Stellantis and General Motors. They are picketing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here for directions to the picket line in Beaverton. You can also offer support by donating to UAW Region 6’s fund, which directly helps Local 492. If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, Dave Alba, a human dignity organizer in Benton County, recently shared the following: 

Three Ways to Support the United Auto Workers’ Strike:

  • Join the picket line in Beaverton or pamphlet at a local dealer. If you want to coordinate with Progressive Democrats of America National, sign up here and click “knock doors” if you’re willing to join a picket line or do outreach at a local dealership.
  • Call 1-318-300-1249 TODAY to leave a message for the CEOs of Ford, GM, and Stellantis and tell them to give the UAW members what they’re asking for. If you own a Big Three product, let them know. Keep it simple and short.
  • Social Media, share posts on TwitterFacebookYoutube, and Instagram.

Party for Socialism and Liberation recently wrote an editorial, “UAW autoworkers courageously escalate battle vs. ‘Big 3’” that analyzes what the demands are and how the strike and negotiations are unfolding. PSL wrote, “The UAW strike is part of a broader surge by labor against the billionaires. Whether it’s UPS workers, actors and writers, nurses, or so many others – the whole working class is standing up and grasping the fundamental fact that the only way to fight exploitation is to organize.”

Is your union missing from our list? What else have you been hearing about the strikes? How is your group mobilizing to offer support to striking workers? Let us know by emailing sidra@rop.org so we can share about your organizing!

Sidra and the ROP Team