SEIU Local 503

Report: Portland SEIU Picket

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At 10:30 am, Friday, June 6, SEIU local 503 held an informational picket outside Morrison Child Protective Services Headquarters. Approximately 50 people wearing purple SEIU t-shirts marched under cloudy skies, and sprinkling rain to show their concern for the working conditions imposed on Rosemont workers. Located in northeast Portland adjacent the Benson Polytechnic High School, 20 Rosemont employees gathered together with supporters from Jobs with Justice, the Teamsters, Labourers, and Amalgamated Transit Union to protest the stonewalling that is taking place in the contract negotiations. After 6 months of contract negotiations the union still has yet to receive a fair wage offer. Morrison is a non-profit organization, and claims to barely be covering expenses as it is without having to deal with any wage increases.  A mediator put it like this, "You guys want quarters, and management says they only have pennies." The wage negotiations, COLA and "night differentials", are the big sticking point. The workers need decent compensation to lower the high turnover rate, improve safety, stability, and improve the quality of care for the at-risk teens. Under current conditions experienced workers cannot afford to make a career at Rosemont. The picket lasted 1.5 hours, and was enthusiastically hailed by all passers-by. Especially noteworthy was the attendance of hitherto inactive members of the union who seemed to draw inspiration from the event. Young workers unaccustomed to dealing with management from a position of power experienced the first slight impressions of what it means to solidarize with other workers. Toward the end of the event the doors to Morrison Heaquarters were opened, and all and sundry marched through shouting militant slogans prompting representatives of management to commence "lock-out" procedures!  The picket provided a fillip to morale, and set the stage for future great action. WIL members, and supporters can help out by contacting Morrison CEO Tia Gray Stecher at 503.258.4305 to request a fair contract.

Fair wages, healthy kids!
Yes to unionization of non-profits!

Brad Forrest, ATU local 575

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