Labor Updates from Solidarity News

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The last few months there has been an outstanding amount of labor activity from workers going on strike, winning new contracts, to seeking to form new unions. It is hard to keep up, even for a seasoned unionist. It has been invigorating, but there have also been losses.

In mid-December, City of Eugene workers a part of AFSCME Local 1724 won a new contract. It includes a 6% cost of living adjustment (COLA) wage increases for the first year of the contract which starts retroactively on July 1, 2021. Additionally, 60% of workers received pay grade increases.

At the beginning of the new year thousands of classified workers at Oregon’s universities began their new contract. The workers, represented by SEIU 503, gained a five-year contract. This was longer than what they were originally seeking, but were able to receive other concessions. Additionally, there is a contract reopener in 2023 where they can renegotiate wages among other things The new minimum wage for all SEIU workers across all campuses is $15/hr.

On January 6, workers at the Starbucks on 29th & Willamette in Eugene filed for a union election, becoming the first store in Oregon to do so. Workers were inspired the employees of the Buffalo, NY shop who organized to become the first ever Starbucks union in December. The workers movement, under the name Starbucks Workers United has been sweeping the country and has picked up a stronghold in Eugene, with workers at six shops in Eugene that have filed for a union election.

In addition to baristas, cannabis shop workers are working towards a union in town. Workers at Spacebuds The Dispensary and Flowr of Life filed for union elections in January.

Later in January, workers at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center that are a part of SEIU 49 secured a new contract. Union members won average wage increases of 22% over the three-year lifespan of the contract after going on strike twice, two days in October and five days in December. The union however was not able to stem the outsourcing of 70 workers to a Texas based company, the main impetus of their first strike.

On midnight, February 18, local 4-J educators landed a tentative agreement with the school district. The Eugene Education Association (EEA) bargaining team secured a 4% COLA for each year of the three-year contract. EEA President Sabrina Gordon acknowledges that these rates are lower than the current 7% inflation rate the country is experiencing, but says that these are much better than other salary increases for the union over the last decade.

Lastly, workers at Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon organized under SEIU 49 and ratified their first contract in February. Under the contract workers will receive an average 15% raise and a wage floor at $18/hr.

Monthly Labor Column: December

…above current costs. Additional gains in the contract include 6 hours of paid training, bumping childcare assistance to $700 for children up to age 7, 6 weeks of paid parental…

Fuck You, Pay Me!

…To ensure that ASUO would allocate necessary resources to labor rights organizing on campus we need to ensure the organization is equipped to work on issues of labor or class….

ASUO Vetos Threat to Student Autonomy

…A coalition of student groups and current & former senators began the process of unraveling what was revealed to be an overwhelming seizure of student assets by the administration. On…

ASUO Burns Down Athletics Contract and helps out students during the pandemic

…attendance for any athletic events, why was the administration focusing on a $1.7M ticket contract ASUO had with the athletics department? It was becoming nakedly obvious what the priorities were…

UO Dining “Staffing Shortage” Reflects Poor Wages

…rhetoric, and look to the wider labor movement sweeping the country for comradery. If UO Dining won’t compensate us fairly for our labor, why should we let them take it?…

Day of Demands: Ducks Demand Democracy

…Appoint community members, not capitalists!  Divest from fossil fuels and discontinue reliance on prison labor.  These demands epitomize the event’s goals, but the array of groups in attendance approached these…

Grants Pass High School Protest – Student Response

…GPHS students and a supporting community member. A student, who asked to stay anonymous, touched on these events.“It is obviously not a secret that cops were at the protest and…

Solidarity with International Workers: India

…being wheat, rice, sugarcane, and numerous spices.   The current ruling party in India is the BJP, or the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose ideas revolve around right-wing extremism. A little over a…

There is Power in a Union: A Case for the Unionization of University Housing

…“we’re hiring” signs, and they have even begun to give out paltry cash incentives to current employees who manage to push others into getting hired. This is not an environment…

Man camps terrorize indigenous women

…camps.” Man camps supply the labor necessary to build these pipelines. The companies set up trailers or other forms of mobile transportation, or they can build sort of dorm-like buildings…

Shelly Hart’s Early Life

events that happened to her: her mother’s voice still in her head, “squeeze my hand when it hurts baby, it’ll be okay.” This was Shelly’s reality throughout her childhood, as…

Living and Fighting, indeed: Atlanta Activists Show Eugene How it’s Done

…of forest to this urban center has massive ramifications for issues of environmental justice. In Dekalb County, the South River Forest was used as the site of a prison labor

Tree Sitters and Community Members Converge to Protest Willamette Greenway Clear-Cut

…to provide context sensitive affordable housing for the most vulnerable people in our community. • We demand that any and all development of future affordable housing use ONLY local labor….