City of Portland Accused of Interfering With DCTU Strike Vote

PORTLAND, OR - With the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) in the midst of their strike vote, numerous City employees reported illegal interference by City of Portland managers in an attempt to disrupt these employees' legally protected right to vote to strike.

“Telling workers represented by our union that they are not represented and cannot vote in this strike authorization, arbitrarily denying vacation requests made prior to any notice of intent to strike is given, while also conducting informal polls on our members' protected union activity are clear violations of the law. It seems City managers are trying to create confusion and intimidate people. It won’t work” said DCTU President Rob Martineau.

DCTU alleges City of Portland managers violated provisions of the Oregon Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA) including:

  • Interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in or because of the exercise of rights guaranteed in ORS 243.662.

  • Dominate, interfere with or assist in the formation, existence or administration of any employee organization.

  • Discriminate in regard to hiring, tenure or any terms or condition of employment for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging membership in an employee organization.

  • Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the exclusive representative.

  • Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of ORS 243.650 to 243.806.

  • Violate the provisions of any written contract with respect to employment relations including an agreement to arbitrate or to accept the terms of an arbitration award, where previously the parties have agreed to accept arbitration awards as final and binding upon them.

“It is a slap in the face to Portlanders that the City would resort to these sorts of tactics instead of focusing on bargaining a fair contract with the workers that keep our great city running. I don’t believe our elected leaders would silently stand by if other employers in Portland engaged in this type of anti-union behavior” continued Martineau.

Under PECBA, it is unlawful for a public employer to interrogate or ask employees about their plan to participate in a strike or other lawful activities of their union. This type of interrogation can be intimidating and coercive, and employers often engage in this unlawful conduct in an effort to undermine support for planned or possible protected activities.

DCTU’s strike vote began on January 11th and will conclude on January 19th at 11:59pm.

DCTU members agreed to furlough days and to delay a cost of living wage adjustment in May, 2020 as the City prepared for the economic toll of the COVID19 pandemic.

Now nearly two years later, the City is offering their workers a 5% cost of living increase while the inflation rate in similarly sized West Coast cities increased by 6% over the six months.

Martineau concluded, “in light of the sacrifices DCTU members agreed to make at the start of the pandemic, and continue making nearly two years later, it’s time for Portland City Council to offer fair compensation for the labor we provide”.

The District Council of Trade Unions (the “DCTU”) – is an umbrella labor organization for City employees that engages in coalition bargaining with the City. The DCTU includes the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Local 189; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 48; International Union of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District Lodge 24; Auto Mechanics, District Lodge 24; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701; United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada, Local 290; and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 5.