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Portland Carpenters Union Starts Unfair Labor Practice Strike Against Neway Forming

Thursday morning at 6:30 AM, carpenters started a strike against the Canadian construction company Neway Forming for unfair labor practices. The strike will continue on friday morning, starting again at 6:30, at SW Clay and 11th, and the strikers can use as much support from the community as possible.
Strikers gathered at SW Clay and 11th Ave in downtown Portland
Strikers gathered at SW Clay and 11th Ave in downtown Portland
At the corner of southwest 11th and Clay, a new, fancy, high-rise condominium building called Benson Tower is being constructed by 2 Canadian companies, general contractor ITC and subcontractor Neway Forming. Three months into construction the project is behind schedule, and will surely be even more so after today's walkout by carpenters and other workers.

Neway Forming, of British Columbia, has been known as an anti-union construction company and has brought down workers from Canada because it can pay them less than Oregonians, though it claims that they need to do this because there are not enough skilled workers in Portland. The company has been particularly hard on Mexican carpenters who are paid considerably less than other non-union carpenters who happen to be white (about $12 an hour compared to $18 to $20). Last week, carpenters on the site were talking about unionizing, and by Friday one of them had been fired. In response the carpenter's union filed an Unfair Labor Practices suit, and workers this morning walked out. Strikers included not only carpenters but union steelworkers, crane operators, and others. Also present at the strike in solidarity were IWW members, the SEIU, Jobs with Justice, CBLOC (Cross-Border Labor Organizing Committee), and others from the community.

Management scared 7 workers into going to work this morning, telling them they'll be fired if they join the strike, and that after the union takes out dues they end up making less money than they are now (which is false). But without the rest of the (approximately 15-man) crew, not a lot of work will get done today, especially with the absence of the crane operator, who refused to cross the picket line. Workers report that there are also unsafe working conditions at the site, including a crane that is old and improperly maintained.

The strike will continue tommorrow and "as long as it takes," in the words of one organizer. The striking workers need as much support as possible and are asking members of the community to join them Friday. Support Carpenters Organizing!

 Friday, Sept. 16th
 SW 11th and Clay
 6:30 am (Perfect before going to work!)
Come support these carpenters who are taking a unique step in organizing and who are getting support from other building trades.

Damn, I missed it 16.Sep.2005 08:43

Working Class Mama

It looks like I'm too late to make it. :(
But I'm there with you in spirit. :) Please keep us posted on any developments and future actions.

monday at 630 am 16.Sep.2005 16:35

jason allred carpeter cc

monday at 630 am come on down to 11 and clay and help us make portland a union town

http://cc
cc
cc

Free coffee and doughnuts 17.Sep.2005 19:48

Jeremy Kidwell UBC local 247 jeremykidwell@hotmail.com

Come down and join us, have some fun. There will be free coffee & doughnuts. Let's send these Canadians back to Canada and give jobs back to Portland. This Monday the 19th we will be there from 6am-3:30pm and every day after that as long as needed. You can also take this opportunity to learn more about joining a union and making a living wage with health care and other benefits for your whole family.

thank you 18.Sep.2005 13:45

Cliff Puckett, Carpenter Local 1388

Thank you to all of my union brothers and sisters who have supported us on this strike. Special thanks to those members from Operating Engineers Local 701, Iron Workers Local 29, I.B.E.W. Local 48 and Cement Masons Local 555 for honoring our picket line and standing with us in this fight. The Carpenters can not win this on our own. We need the continued support to fight the loss of our jobs to workers from out of state and out of the country and the attack on our wages and standard of living. It is a fight for the Carpenters now but who will be next?

carpenters don't own countires, we just build them 18.Sep.2005 18:10

jason -a striking carpenter and New Way employee

Union carpenters don't own countries, not yet any way. A worker is a worker, and it don't matter were their from as long as they don't scab or undercut wages for their fellow workers.

It's the bosses that are the problem, not Canadian workers. Don't let bosses pit workers against each other over imaginary lines drawn on the map to keep us shackled to shitty wages. The bottom line is workers from every country have more and common with each other then with any bosses.

Workers don't control shit, and never will as long as we allow bosses to use national flags as blindfolds, so they can pick all our pockets. I hope all UBC members understands that we should not piss off our Canadian brothers any more then we already have. Don't appeal to nationalism when fighting the bosses. We should be squeezing the boss's nuts on both sides of the border. One for each side.

If labor has learned anything in the last 25 years, it needs to be that nationalism is a tool that the boss use to divide and conquer the labor movement. Globalization is here, and we better start fighting back across all borders. And our organizing department should know better.

See you on the picket line.

the fight continues 28.Sep.2005 14:52

cliff

The Carpenter's union is still working with the Newway carpenters that were fired. The striking carpenters tried to return to work but were refused by Newway management. Newway has hired more carpenters to replace those that had went on strike. Union cement masons have been kicked off the job for standing up for and supporting workers rights. The other union crafts on the job have been threatened with the same. We can not be bullied into excepting low wages and unsafe working conditions with threats of losing our jobs. Thank you again to all that have offered their to support to us. We know that an injury to one is an injury to all, and Newway has injured their workers. We will let newway know that they cannot come to Portland and treat workers this way.

Fair - what do you mean fair?!?! 09.Nov.2005 10:22

Joe Schmitty

The author of the following article does not discriminate and is in favor of providing work for everyone.
He also believes that overpricing and waste hurts the economy more than any pro-union individual cares to admit.
If the owners of these projects are able to profit from there projects they will continue to develop.
If an area is known for COMPETANT and COMPETATIVE work forces there will be work.

How can you call it unfair when the bidding process is open to EVERYONE!
Why does the union insist on discrimination towards Companies that doesn't pay them millions of dollars in fees every year -
So that thousands of people (Union Reps & so on) can sit in huge office buildings and drive nice cars that the workers are paying for. In the mean time thousands of jobs are going overseas with the help of the union making labor so expensive in the US that corporations have no choice but to move on so they don't have put up with strikes and workers that never have enough. I've had employees in the union tell me directly that it is hard to believe the waste on large projects that are 100% union. If it is about fairs wages and benefits then tell me why there are hardly ever union contractors on jobs where wages are required to meet the Davis Bacon Act. BECAUSE NON-UNION WORKERS CARE ABOUT THE COMPANIES THEY WORK FOR AND WORK HARD AND ARE PAID BETTER THAN ANY UNION EMPLOYEE I'VE EVER MET - BECAUSE THEY PUT IN AN HONEST DAYS WORK EVERY DAY.
The union does not promote free working opportunities!
They are telling us that non-union does not have the right to work!
Stop and think that maybe these union reps are protecting there own jobs - do they really care about the worker?
I doubt they all do they care about the well-being of the union financially - the number of members must be as high as possible for more power and more dues.

To those of you eating your free hot dogs please think about what your doing.
Do you really want to discriminate? All the employees on that job need to make a living.
Many if not most have families - do you want to yell at them?
Do you want to call them names? Hopefully you're not rude or harmful in any way.
Is this really the right way to act if you represent freedom?
EVERYONE has the right to work on ANY job - don't they?
Think about this - what if the nation's commercial and multi-family buildings were entirely union controlled.
Do you think that would be a good thing? Do you think if non-union shops were not a "threat" that the unions would "fight" so hard for the worker? I think not. Prices would be so high that the economy would absolutely crawl. No one can say that this wouldn't be harmful to the United States - especially when it comes to jobs going to other counties in massive strides.
If one has read into the computer chip plants of America they would know.
One third of Intel's work force is in India and China and they say in ten years 2/3 will be.
Microsoft is doing the same thing. All the big high tech companies are?
Do we want this trend to continue?
We all have different ideas of who to blame but
- as far as the work force is concerned who can be blamed - the unions or non-union workforce?

Finally - please be truly fair.

Thank you and best wishes.

Fari? 09.Nov.2005 10:35

Joe Schmitty

The author of the following article does not discriminate and is in favor of providing work for everyone.
He also believes that overpricing and waste hurts the economy more than any pro-union individual cares to admit.
If the owners of these projects are able to profit from there projects they will continue to develop.
If an area is known for COMPETANT and COMPETATIVE work forces there will be work.

How can you call it unfair when the bidding process is open to EVERYONE!
Why does the union insist on discrimination towards Companies that doesn't pay them millions of dollars in fees every year -
So that thousands of people (Union Reps & so on) can sit in huge office buildings and drive nice cars that the workers are paying for. In the mean time thousands of jobs are going overseas with the help of the union making labor so expensive in the US that corporations have no choice but to move on so they don't have put up with strikes and workers that never have enough. I've had employees in the union tell me directly that it is hard to believe the waste on large projects that are 100% union. If it is about fairs wages and benefits then tell me why there are hardly ever union contractors on jobs where wages are required to meet the Davis Bacon Act. BECAUSE NON-UNION WORKERS CARE ABOUT THE COMPANIES THEY WORK FOR AND WORK HARD AND ARE PAID BETTER THAN ANY UNION EMPLOYEE I'VE EVER MET - BECAUSE THEY PUT IN AN HONEST DAYS WORK EVERY DAY.
The union does not promote free working opportunities!
They are telling us that non-union does not have the right to work!
Stop and think that maybe these union reps are protecting there own jobs - do they really care about the worker?
I doubt they all do they care about the well-being of the union financially - the number of members must be as high as possible for more power and more dues.

To those of you eating your free hot dogs please think about what your doing.
Do you really want to discriminate? All the employees on that job need to make a living.
Many if not most have families - do you want to yell at them?
Do you want to call them names? Hopefully you're not rude or harmful in any way.
Is this really the right way to act if you represent freedom?
EVERYONE has the right to work on ANY job - don't they?
Think about this - what if the nation's commercial and multi-family buildings were entirely union controlled.
Do you think that would be a good thing? Do you think if non-union shops were not a "threat" that the unions would "fight" so hard for the worker? I think not. Prices would be so high that the economy would absolutely crawl. No one can say that this wouldn't be harmful to the United States - especially when it comes to jobs going to other counties in massive strides.
If one has read into the computer chip plants of America they would know.
One third of Intel's work force is in India and China and they say in ten years 2/3 will be.
Microsoft is doing the same thing. All the big high tech companies are?
Do we want this trend to continue?
We all have different ideas of who to blame but
- as far as the work force is concerned who can be blamed - the unions or non-union workforce?

Get some Manners Cement Masons Local #555 09.Nov.2005 13:42

In the Neighborhood @ 10th and Clay

Gentelmen & Ladies;

Be considerate of the people who live in the neighborhood. Your actions and behavior is not really winning any friends or local neighborhood support. Blocking sidewalks to the local pedestrians, disrupting music presentations at the Old Church, and keeping day sleepers awake with your noise doesn't go a long way in winning your battle. We will still live here long after your project is finished and the concrete is formed and placed. But we will remember how poorly you acted, and that may influence your success on the next project if we are in a position be be a decision maker.

Today I noticed when I left for work that someone had called the Portland Police and they were there having to inform you of your poor behavior and citizenship. I wouldn't be very proud of that if it were me.

If you want to be sucessful in your effort make friends not enemies.

Joe Schmitty. Your confused 02.Dec.2005 11:17

Cement Mason c

Joe, I wonder if you know why the Davis Bacon Act was enacted? In 1931 The Federal government enacted the "Federal Davis Bacon Act" to gaurantee fair competition on federal and state construction Projects. Although it was enacted in 1931, it was a direct effect of previous labor movement pressures at the state level. As early as 1891 other states had adopted prevailing wage statutes. Davis Bacon was a response by the federal government to protect themselves from "fly by night", "cut throat", contractors who performed "shoddy" work with "exploited","low skilled" and "imported" labor. These are not the words of the labor unions but the bill's primary sponsors, Congressman Robert Bacon and Pennsylvania Senator James Davis. They viewed the bill not so much as a way to protect the worker but to provide market stability in an inherently unstable construction industry.

Because the construction industry is a time and Materials industry, low bid requirements on public works allows contractors from outside the area to bid work based on substandard wages and can help create a situation where contractors import low wage workers from outside the country or regional area where wages and the standards of living might be much lower than that of the community where the project is. In Congressman James Davis' own words: "the least the federal government can do is comply with the local standards of wages and labor prevailing in the area".

And to respond to your claim that there are no union people who work on Prevailing Wage projects, these projects cover a significant amount of our contractor's projects. If as you claim a non-union employee is recieving more money on his check than a union employee of the same craft, it is because the non-union contractor is not providing a fringe package ie.(healthcare, pension or retirement). He is simply showing it all as wages. Typically after the prevailing wage project is finished our non-union counterpart will return to a private project and his or her wages will be reduced significantly. Sometimes by up to 50%. Our members wages remaian the same regardless of wether it is a public or private project.

There is this misconception of labors' objectives. We are not asking for special treatment for our workers. We are just suggesting that the employee is the most valluable asset of the company. If you believe that every individaul has the right to a living wage; ie (home ownership, healthcare insurance, retirement plan, ability to pay for reliable transportation to and from work) then you must realize that these necessities are not inexpensive. Just as the labor unions of the past have fought battles for minimum wage laws, 40 hour weeks, eight hour day, and prevailing wage, we will continue to fight for all workers rights. We have a vested interest in the welfare of all workers, both union and non-union. We understand that as their standard of living rises so does ours.

Racism in the UBC 13.Oct.2006 08:24

Brandy b_b_doll_1972@yahoo.com

Come to So. California. All there are are Hispanics and whites on the job. This is why my fiance who is African American is plannin on suing the UBC. He is the last hired on a job, first laid off. He deals with outhouses that have racial slurs toward africans on the wall, white co-workers with racial comments and pics on their bodies. Southern California sucks! They even allow employers to place ads stating Spanish speaking required! What the hell is this crap? I'm in the USA, I shouldn't have to speak spanish! This is as wrong as if an employer put white only, men only etc. African American's deserve to be able to receive good pay in the UBC and a steady job too! People don't realize how much we've lost ex: homes, cars, utilities all behind racism!

If there are any other african american UBC workers who are dealing w/ the same crap, last hired (if you even lucky) and the first or only one laid off on a crew of all hispanics or whites, please contact me via e-mail. I feel that it is time to put these contractors and the UBC in their place. Stop the racism! Now! Thank you, Brandy ( b_b_doll_1972@yahoo.com)