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Carpenters Strike

Northwest Carpenters Prepared to Strike across Oregon and Southwest Washington
More than 1,300 Carpenters in Washington and Oregon may walk off Jobsites over Inadequate Wage Increases
PORTLAND - With only a day before the contracts expire at midnight on May 31st, members of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters (PNWRCC) in Washington and Oregon may be forced to walk off dozens of active construction sites; the strike is imminent since the contractors failed to offer an acceptable increase to workers' wages and benefits. Already, 97.5% of the affected carpenters have voted in favor of striking as a last resort.
The contract governing drywall, acoustic ceiling and lather specialists in Oregon and Southwest Washington expires at midnight on May 31st. PNWRCC members and their representatives have been negotiating with drywall subcontractors for the last several weeks to hammer out important contract provisions that affect jobsite safety, productivity, wages and benefits.
Northwest Carpenters Prepared to Strike across Oregon and Southwest Washington
More than 1,300 Carpenters in Washington and Oregon may walk off Jobsites over Inadequate Wage Increases
PORTLAND - With only a day before the contracts expire at midnight on May 31st, members of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters (PNWRCC) in Washington and Oregon may be forced to walk off dozens of active construction sites; the strike is imminent since the contractors failed to offer an acceptable increase to workers' wages and benefits. Already, 97.5% of the affected carpenters have voted in favor of striking as a last resort.
The contract governing drywall, acoustic ceiling and lather specialists in Oregon and Southwest Washington expires at midnight on May 31st. PNWRCC members and their representatives have been negotiating with drywall subcontractors for the last several weeks to hammer out important contract provisions that affect jobsite safety, productivity, wages and benefits.
Just last week, contractors and the PNWRCC settled negotiations to renew a mutually beneficial contract between the Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association and the union in Western Washington settling on 6% in the first year and 6% in the second year of the agreement.
"It is clear that the Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association of Oregon and SW Washington are offering this less than adequate increase for drywallers purely for financial gain, Said Doug Tweedy, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the PNWRCC. "Families affected by these failing negotiations are simply asking for wages that are needed to cover the cost of living increases - housing, medical care, child care and the ever-rising cost of fuel just to get to work. We must stand by the growing strength of our families and communities and insist that fair wages and benefits remain a priority.
The last and final offer from the Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association was only 70.4% of the increase that the Association agreed to in Seattle.
"In the past, the contractors have endeavored to keep up with the cost of living in Oregon and Southwest Washington," Said Eric Franklin, spokesperson for the PNWRCC. "Additionally they have ensured parity among the workers in Washington and Oregon by increasing wages and benefits by the same percentage. Considering the region's booming economy, there is no excuse for an increase that is only 70% of the increase in Western Washington. The entire region has added over 27,000 construction jobs since 2006 (Bureau of Labor Statistic)"
Since October 2003, the Consumer Price Index (the most widely reported measure of inflation) has increased 9.3% in the Western U.S., which does not include fuel, gasoline and energy costs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/06). Gas prices alone have increased 60-80% in the Northwest since January 2003. (Department of Energy, 12/3/06).
The increase the contractors have offered falls far short of the increased cost of living that workers and their families are experiencing in Oregon and Washington.
"In Western Washington, the same worker will be receiving a 30% larger raise than he or she would in Oregon or in Southwest Washington, Franklin continued. "In Oregon alone, construction accounts for at least $9.9 Billion to the economy annually. It's not just 1,300 families negotiating here; if they fail, Oregon and Southwest Washington lose economically when the contractors disrupt the operations of their own jobsites. We need to keep these skilled workers here, building the economy, with good wages and benefits and not lose them to Seattle."
In preparation for a strike, the PNWRCC has ratcheted up its cutting edge text messaging and email program to get updates and news out to their 1,300 affected members hundreds of jobsite volunteer captains. This network, and its high-tech communication system, was perfected earlier this year when they were used to turn out more than 13,000 carpenters and their families to pre-contract rallies in April at the Oregon Convention Center and Tacoma Dome.
"Our 20,000 members across the five states of our council will continue to stand in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters," Said Doug Tweedy, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the PNWRCC. "A successful negotiation is critical to moving this historically strong relationship in the right direction."
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For more information about the PNWRCC and the contract negotiations visit www.nwcarpenters.org or www.contract2007.org.

Now what? 01.Jun.2007 09:55

Working Class Mama

How can we support you?

walk the line with us 01.Jun.2007 10:12

patrick star

come out to a picket line and picket with us. also, bringing anything for people to munch on while they are picketing would be great. The pickets are up all over down town, to find one, just look for a tower crane that is not moving, and there will be a picket there.

I wanna support & I got some time coming up 02.Jun.2007 17:55

Working Class Mama

Please be more specific. Places? Times? I'm a mother and the idea of towing my child around downtown until I happen across a picket line doesn't sound like it would work very well for me.

Can carpenters bring Portland to a halt, and oil profiteers down? 02.Jun.2007 22:54

repost by author from or.politics [oregon politics usenet]

Yes. If they can, it will be because of unity, and it would be because there truly is, a government of the people, by the people, for the people. People who unite locally in Portland, have one of the best chances of this entire year, showing a force and making a real difference on the whole for how things are done in this world. Honoring a strike like this, in any way you can could absolutely cripple Portland, [and bring unity to national awareness], bringing it to it's literal knees. It's success would also show the gov'ment and oil profiteers it's time to listen up to the people, the working class, who CAN have some control, if only they'd use the tools they have. If it doesn't work, one could almost guarantee that American labor is dead, and labor unions are dead, because it ignores it's own power. No union is any better than it's members. If it ignores it's own power, it also shows that those born and bred American citizens who's children and grandchildren cannot, or or perhaps choose not, to go on to higher education, America's labor force will have to be populated by slavery and/or foreigners. Have a look at http://www.andersen-const.com/ just to get a glimpse of the massive and numerous, multi-million dollar construction projects going on in Portland this very moment just by this one company alone, right now. Then perhaps google Hoffman Structures, Walsh Construction, to see many more. The failure to achieve the goal set by these *lowly* carpenters, and any failure to show support for them and their cause, will have numerous and complex negative ramifications for all. Remember that the air traffic controllers were stopped from saving America's future, literally crippling it's working class. Oregonians have another chance to expose how the death, or life of the greatest nation on earth is orchestrated. [Does anyone have footage of the *union* concrete suppliers, Glacier NW, crossing the picket line Friday on Alder between 5th and 6th, while the *union* Portland Police sat in their car and watched it?]

two locations where strikers are 02.Jun.2007 23:02

anon

You will find strikers at at least two locations that I know about. First, between SW 5th and 6th on Alder @ Macy's, and just south of NW 9th on Front/Naito Pkwy at the Waterfront Pearl project.

Two Glacier NW Union Employees FIRED for not crossing Carpenter Picket! 05.Jun.2007 16:52

independent unbiased reporter

Two Union members of the Portland Teamsters Local 162 were terminated from Glacier NW employment Monday, June 4th, 2007 for allegedly not crossing the Carpenters picket at the busy and raucous downtown Portland renovation site at M&F and Macy's renovation on SW Alder between 5th and 6th! It is rumored that among the many critical safety concerns and pedestrian traffic congestion on the open to public street, were known to have existed at the scene, but were not divulged to the delivering employees prior to arrival. Delivery drivers were allegedly confronted by picketers impeding thier trucks at the intersections. Supposedly the company denied any right to the employees, when asked of them, to the free access to union representation and consultation at the scene. Citing only the significance of their labor agreement as justification for exacerbating an already volatile street scene, by Glacier supervision already stationed at the scene when drivers arrived.

wow 21.Jun.2007 12:22

Rebecca

Wow. My husband who happens to be an attorney described being on the scene as this happened! He witnessed the obstruction of a truck trying to make a delivery on June 1st. Do you know the identities of the truck drivers who were terminated?
Rebecca

trouble is.... 17.Jul.2007 16:15

interested observer

The Teamsters and Carpenter unions locals in this metro area retain and are represented by the same attorneys.

If a single union member or two get caught up in the middle of this kind of situation, get terminated resulting in any kind of malfeasance or perhaps even illegal activity on the part of the other union, and then pursues justice via their union, in this case the Teamsters, it's not likely that they'd get due representation beyond a staged facade. Not by the union at least.

carpenters don't deserve support 07.Aug.2007 07:39

a union member

the carpenters don't get much sympathy from any of the other trades in the area because they've been undermining their efforts and members for years. they have no respect for other trade unions both on and off the job, and they don't deserve anyone's support.