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City workers in Portland vote to authorize strike

The vote to authorize a strike gives workers the ability to officially go on strike 10 days after the union gives notice to the city.
Credit: yooranpark - stock.adobe.com
Portland City Hall, which is the headquarters of city government of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — More than 1,100 municipal trade workers may strike as Portland leaders and a coalition of public employee unions remain at an impasse on a new contract agreement.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports members of the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) voted to authorize a strike after overwhelmingly rejecting the city's latest offer of an annual pay bump and four-figure bonus. The decision announced Thursday comes weeks after the union's bargaining team declared the impasse.

It gives workers the ability to officially go on strike 10 days after the union gives notice to the city, a move that could threaten basic services across Portland.

"After nearly two years working through a global pandemic, and facing unprecedented challenges, it’s time the city recognizes the sacrifices our members make day in and day out," Rob Martineau, president of the DCTU, said in a news release Thursday. "The city’s proposal drastically undervalues the work city employees are doing, providing essential services, to keep our communities healthy and safe."

According to the Oregonian, the DCTU's members make up about 16% of the city's workforce and "comprise an array of employees, including maintenance workers, building inspectors and clerical staff." The Oregonian reports that DCTU members are employed by multiple city bureaus, including the Portland Water Bureau, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Bureau of Development Services and Portland Police Bureau, among others.

Heather Hafer, a spokesperson for the city's Office of Management and Finance, told KGW on Thursday that the city had not yet received formal notification of the vote nor the required 10-day intent-to-strike notice.

"We respect the right of union members to strike, and we will continue to work with DCTU in hopes of coming to an agreement on the outstanding issues," Hafer told KGW in an email response.

Mediation between the two parties will continue.

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