Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current, November 03, 2006, Page 4, Image 4

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    What’s
Happening
Supervisor ruling
spurs NLRB to re-
examine 54 cases
Unions’ worst fears about a recent
legal decision may be coming true.
When the National Labor Relations
Board announced Oct. 3 that hospital
charge nurses are supervisors and
therefore can’t belong to a union, labor
said the decision would soon apply to
other kinds of workers.
Two weeks after that decision, the
NLRB told its regional directors to re-
examine 54 legal cases in light of the
newly established definition of super-
visor. While 35 of the cases involved
hospitals and nursing homes, 19 did
not.
The cases involve carpenters, elec-
tricians, grocery workers and TV re-
porters.
In each case, the Board said the
union and the company must get a
new ruling on who is a supervisor and
who isn’t.
One case stemmed from a June
2005 organizing campaign in Portland.
Workers at CBS affiliate KOIN-TV
wanted to join Local 51 of the National
Association of Broadcast Employees
and Technicians-Communications
Workers of America. For legal reasons,
the workers were split into two groups.
Station management argued that some
of the workers seeking to unionize in
the second group — nine news produc-
ers and three assignment desk editors
— were supervisors. The NLRB’s re-
gional office disagreed, and scheduled
elections for both groups. Management
appealed, so the NLRB conducted the
elections, but impounded the ballots of
the second group until the legal chal-
lenge is resolved. The national Board
agreed to look at the case, but now
wants the regional office to a second
look based on the national Board’s rul-
ing on the charge nurse case.
That’s not going to happen. Cathy
Callahan, outgoing director of the
NLRB’s Portland office, said she’s ask-
ing both sides if they still want the
NLRB to decide the matter.
But events in the meantime have
made the matter moot.
NABET-CWA won the election for
the first group. Emmis Communica-
tions, the station owner that fought the
unionizing campaign, sold KOIN-TV
to Montecito Broadcast Group in Janu-
ary 2006, and Montecito agreed to vol-
untarily recognize the second group in
exchange for NABET-CWA dropping
the news producers. In July the two
sides signed a first-ever three-year con-
tract covering both groups.
“This whole story illustrates how
one-sided and slanted this NLRB
process is,” said Local 51 President
Kevin Wilson. And it’s getting worse
PAGE 4
L ABOR
AND
P OLITICAL
NEWS FR OM AR OUND THE
P A C I F I C N O R T H W E S T
health insurance, they will be required
to pay into a new city fund to increase
health care access for uninsured con-
struction workers. Bidders also would
be required to meet certain bench-
marks in at least three out of five crite-
ria: provide apprenticeship and train-
ing, hire locally, have a safety
program, have a drug-testing program,
or be designated as a minority, wo-
man, emerging small business.
Harris said a City Council hearing
on the resolution will be held Nov. 15
at 6 p.m. The location has yet to be de-
termined.
For more information, call Harris at
503-650-7701.
with the NLRB’s recent decision,
which will impact every industry, Wil-
son said.
Other cases the Board sent back
down to its regional offices for new
hearings on who is a supervisor in-
clude disputes involving a barge oper-
ator in Longview, Wash., and a chil-
dren’s museum in Seattle.
The same three-person Board ma-
jority that voted to declare charge
nurses to be supervisors voted to re-
mand these cases back for a new look.
Gov. Kulongoski
declares November
‘Hire a Vet’ month
SALEM -Oregon Gov. Ted Kulon-
goski proclaimed November “Hire a
Veteran Month” in the state.
Nearly 8,000 Oregon Air National
Guard men and women have been
called to active duty since 9/11. Some
have incurred economic loss and injury
while in service, and many are finding
it difficult to find a job.
To assist veterans and employers,
One-Stop Career Centers have been es-
tablished nationwide where employers
can go to receive assistance in connect-
ing to and recruiting veterans. One-
Stop Career Centers offer resources in-
cluding specialized local Veterans’
Employment Representatives (LVERs)
and Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Pro-
gram (DVOP) staff who work solely
with veteran populations and can pro-
vide relevant veteran applicant refer-
rals.
Labor’s Community Service
Agency, AFL-CIO, is a partner with
the Hire Vets First program in Oregon.
It is helping to promote the program,
especially within the construction
trades’ apprenticeship programs.
LCSA Executive Director Glenn
Shuck has made program presentations
to union organizations, conducted
mailings to distribute veterans program
information, staffed informational
booths at veterans events and referred
veterans to appropriate services.
Labor’s Community Service
Agency is a non-profit agency funded
in part by United Way of the Colum-
bia-Willamette in partnership with the
Northwest Oregon Labor Council,
AFL-CIO. Part of its mission is to help
workers who have lost their jobs to
plant closures and layoffs get plugged
into organizations that will help retrain
them for new employment.
Eligible veterans for any of the
services include veterans with service-
connected disabilities, those who have
barriers to employment, and those who
served on active duty in the armed
forces during a war or in a campaign or
expedition for which a campaign
badge has been authorized.
For more information about the
Hire Vets First program, call toll-free at
1-877-838-4473, in Portland call 503-
655-8840, or go to their Web site at
www.hirevetsfirst.gov.
Contact Shuck at Labor’s Commu-
nity Service Agency at 503-231-4962.
LERA conference
on health care set
Nov. 15 in Portland
Zoo workers rally for new contract
Employees at the Oregon Zoo are battling for a new contract with Metro, the
government agency that operates the facility in Southwest Portland. The old
contract with Laborers Local 483 expired June 30. More than two dozen
workers and supporters rallied at the Oregon Convention Center in Northeast
Portland Oct. 25, where Metro councilors were meeting. The public elects a
council president and six councilors representing Multnomah, Washington
and Clackamas counties. Employees have already rejected one contract offer
75-6. The sides are now meeting with help from a mediator. The union said
Metro insists on changing job security provisions of the contract, while
refusing to address problems such as the 190 temporary employees is uses
who receive few benefits. The zoo employs about 100 full-time workers.
Skyrocketing health insurance costs, and who will pay for it, also are a bone
of contention. The union has already agreed to several small concessions such
as increasing the amount of time it takes to reach the top pay scale from 12 to
30 months; increasing the amount of hours temporary employees are able to
work from 720 to 1,040; limiting the amount of vacation an employee may
take by seniority bid; and dropping the Oregon Laborers Trust health
insurance, the one plan that falls under current health care caps. “These
concessions, coupled with the loss of the job security provisions, guarantee
that the members will not ratify this proposal,” said Local 483 Business
Representative Rob Wheaton.
Labor, community
activists press for
‘best value’ decree
Labor and community leaders are
continuing to press Portland City com-
missioners to enact “community
health” and “best value” ordinances
covering city contracting.
The ordinances would apply to all
contractors and subcontractors enter-
ing directly into construction contracts
with the City of Portland or the Port-
land Development Commission, or
through development agreements with
PDC that meet a threshold in excess of
$50,000 for project cost.
State law requires that public con-
NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS
tracts be awarded to the “lowest re-
sponsible bidder,” and gives govern-
ment entities some discretion in defin-
ing “responsible.”
“The city continues to assume that
virtually all contractors are responsible
and awards contracts strictly on the
basis of low bid,” said Cherry Harris, a
business representative of Operating
Engineers Local 701.
The ordinance labor is pursuing
would require contractors to meet spe-
cific criteria when bidding on public
construction contracts. That criteria
would include family health care and
family wages at least equal to the pre-
vailed rate for each craft.
The ordinance includes a “pay-or-
play” plan that works like this: If an
employer does not provide family
“Crisis in Health Care: What Are
We Doing About It?” is the theme of a
conference Wednesday, Nov. 15, spon-
sored by the Oregon Chapter of the La-
bor and Employment Relations Asso-
ciation (LERA).
The event will be held at the Ore-
gon Convention Center in Portland
starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 4:30
p.m. Registration is $140.
The keynote speaker will be Dr.
John Santa, assistant director for health
projects at Oregon Health and Science
University Center for Evidenced-based
Policy.
Panel discussions will be held on
access, delivery and cost of prescrip-
tion drugs; bargaining for health care
benefits; improving quality and safety
in health care, and more.
At 2:30 p.m. LERA will present
awards to individuals in labor relations,
including union leaders, managers and
academics.
Union Manor plans
gift and craft sale
Nov. 17-18
Westmoreland Union Manor will
hold a Holiday Craft and Gift Sale on
Friday, Nov. 17, and Saturday, Nov. 18,
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Manor is located at 6404 SE
23rd Ave., Portland, on the corner of
23rd and Tolman, just off SE
McLoughlin Blvd.
Health care forum
in Portland Nov. 29
The second “Health Care Forum
for Labor Leaders” is scheduled for
Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 2-5 p.m. at
the headquarters of Oregon AFSCME
Council 75, 6025 E Burnside, Port-
land. Unionists will look at goals for
changing the health care system and
discuss health care reforms they
might pursue in the 2007 Oregon
Legislature. For more information,
contact Laurie or Eliana at 503-236-
5573 or email laurie@jwjpdx.org.
NOVEMBER 3, 2006