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About Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 3, 2006)
...Survey says Oregonians favor prevailing wage rates
(From Page 8)
standards on mixed-use projects.
At the Oct. 18 work session,
Shiprack and the nonunion Associated
Building and Contractors spokesman
Shawn Miller agreed that any solution
to the mixed-use development debate
likely will have to come from the Leg-
islature by revamping state prevailing
“Right now, PDC can take the lead
to help solve it,” Shiprack said.
During testimony before PDC com-
missioners, apprentices, journeymen
and women, a contractor and several
union officials praised the virtues of
prevailing wage projects. Even the
nonunion contractors testifying against
prevailing wages, when asked by com-
missioners, said that their employees
“are extremely happy” when they work
on prevailing wage jobs.
Shiprack shared results from a re-
cent survey his council conducted
showing that 67 percent of Portlanders
think PDC should require contractors
to pay the prevailing wage on all proj-
“Citizens’ number one issue is to
make PDC more accountable,” he told
John Mohlis, executive secretary-
treasurer of the Columbia-Pacific
Building Trades Council, distributed a
flier showing union pension fund in-
vestments of more than $83 million in
the central city, and more than $22 mil-
lion on the South Waterfront Develop-
ment since 2002.
In Multnomah, Washington and
Clackamas counties, building trades
union pension funds have invested
more than $256 million.
“We’re helping build this commu-
nity, and our investments are getting
decent returns,” Mohlis said. “And
we’re doing it paying higher wages
and benefits than the prevailed rates
Moreover, Mohlis continued, every
dollar paid to local construction work-
ers is spent directly on goods and serv-
ices in their communities. New work-
ers are recruited and paid to get training
in their chosen craft, and unions are
leaders in volunteering to work on proj-
ects for nonprofit organizations.
“Prevailing wage laws create a level
playing field for all contractors. The
most productive and profitable will step
forward,” Mohlis said. “It’s not a race
to which contractor can get away with
paying the lowest wages and providing
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Attorneys at Law
Oregon’s Full Service Union Law Firm
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the fewest benefits.”
During public testimony, several
women and minorities from union
crafts and Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.
presented testimony supporting pre-
vailing wage laws. Most said they
learned their crafts while working on
prevailing wage jobs in Portland.
Nichole Craine, a fifth-term Car-
penter apprentice and mother of six,
said her training helped her and her
family become more self-sufficient.
“I now have a skill and career that I
can pass on to them,” she said.
William Carr, a journeyman mem-
ber of Sheet Metal Workers Local 16,
asked commissioners not to do away
with prevailing wage rules.
“Working on prevailing wage proj-
ects has allowed me the opportunity to
be a successful father,” he said.
A homeowner and the father of four
PDC to hold final
boys, Carr said he now makes enough
money so that his wife can stay home
to be with their kids.
“We’re homeowners, we have
health insurance, we pay our taxes, we
pay our bills,” said Chris Wade, a jour-
neyman member of Local 16 who has a
degree in English.
“It’s not like anybody’s getting
rich,” added Amy Fuger, also a Sheet
Metal Local 16 apprentice.
Fuger said that when she finishes
her apprenticeship training she will
have an associate’s degree in sheet
Carol Duncan, owner of General
Sheet Metal Works, a union shop that
bids on a lot of prevailing wage work,
told commissioners, “It shouldn’t be a
union or nonunion case. Without pre-
vailing wage protections the low bid
would cause the industry to erode. It
The Portland Development
Commission will hold its third
and final prevailing wage work
session on Thursday, Nov. 9,
from 4 to 9 p.m. in the PDC con-
ference room at 222 NW Fifth
PDC, the quasi-independent
development arm of the Portland
City Council, set up three work-
shops to determine whether or not
it should set wage and benefit re-
quirements on projects that aren’t
clearly subject to the state prevail-
ing wage law.
PDC will announce its inten-
tions at its regular board meeting
Wednesday, Nov. 29.
...’Battle in Seattle’
(From Page 5)
Chief Norm Stamper and the failure
of Mayor Paul Schell to win re-elec-
tion in 2001.
Because the Seattle protests were
covered worldwide by the media,
50,000 protesters were able to reach
hundreds of millions of people, many
of whom had never heard of the
Their acts inspired people all over
the globe — including “Battle in Seat-
tle” director Townsend, who told a fan
Web site this film means more to him
than anything else he’s ever done.
It’s not clear whether he talked with
any protest organizers in preparing for
the film. Rumor has it Townsend favors
shooting at least exteriors in Seattle but
may be overruled by funders.
So far, the project’s minimal pub-
licity has played up the “riot” aspect
of the protests, but the producers have
said all perspectives will be treated
Those who were there — including
tens of thousands of Washington and
Oregon unionists who lived the
protests firsthand — will be undoubt-
edly be watching closely to see if that
pledge bears out when the film ap-
pears in theaters.
Filming is expected to continue in
Vancouver, B.C. through mid-Decem-
ber. The film will be released some
time in 2007.
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NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS
NOVEMBER 3, 2006