Oregon AFSCME Local 88 Files Unfair Labor Practice and Elections Complaint Against Multnomah County Commission Chair Candidate Sharon Meieran

October 11, 2022

Oregon AFSCME Local 88 Files Unfair Labor Practice and Elections Complaint Against Multnomah County Commission Chair Candidate Sharon Meieran
Commissioner Betrayed Her Oath of Office In Threatening Retaliation Over Not Receiving Endorsement

When Oregon AFSCME Local 88 members, employed by Multnomah County, interviewed the candidates for Multnomah County Commission Chair, they did so with an eye toward what is best for their fellow members.

“After interviewing the candidates, Local 88 members voted to endorse Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson as recommended by the local’s PAC (political action committee). They voted to endorse candidates who they felt would best represent the interests of our members, which means properly funding county programs and working with Multnomah County employees who make our County work” said Oregon AFSCME Local 88 President Joslyn Baker.

After Local 88 endorsed Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, her opponent, Commissioner Meieran met with Local 88 President Joslyn Baker to ask the Local to reconsider their endorsement by either endorsing both candidates or scaling back their level of support for Pederson. A week later, Commissioner Meieran called Joslyn at work to discuss the endorsement again.

“I explained our process again to Commissioner Meieran, and that we would not be making any changes to our endorsement decision or altering the level of support for our endorsed candidates” said Baker.

Saying the quiet part out loud, and in the eyes of Local 88, using her position to leverage electoral support, Commissioner Meieran told Local 88, President Joslyn Baker, she would have supported Local 88 in their contract negotiations if they’d endorsed her, but in light of endorsing her opponent, she would not support Multnomah County workers in their negotiations.

“Commissioner Meieran said she felt our endorsement of Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson was a ‘f*ck you’ to Meieran, and so she said she was calling to say ‘f*ck you’ to AFSCME. I was stunned. In all my years, I’ve never had an interaction with an elected official that was so callous, and with such disregard for the people they’re supposed to represent” said Baker.

Following this outburst, Commissioner Meieran followed through on her threat to terminate communications with AFSCME Local 88 in retaliation for the union’s endorsement process.

The Elections Complaint alleges that Commissioner Meieran unlawfully attempted to coerce a public employee or public employees into supporting her campaign. The Unfair Labor Practice complaint alleges Multnomah County, by way of Commissioner Meieran, violated the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining act by interfering with protected union activity and dominating the internal affairs of Local 88.

“The fact that Commissioner Meieran would use her position in County Government to leverage electoral support is pathetic and a perfect example of why our members feel Commissioner Meieran is not suited for elected office. Bullies like her have no place in government” said Fred Yungbluth, President, Oregon AFSCME.