President's Thanksgiving Message

AFSCME 189 Family,

After our last membership meeting it has become abundantly clear that I owe you a thorough explanation for our long break in bargaining, and why we are in this protracted process to begin with. As promised in our last meeting, as DCTU President I called a special meeting of the representatives and business agents last week who comprise our bargaining team to discuss the state of bargaining, whether we felt appropriate progress was being made, and whether or not to declare impasse with City Management. After much deliberation and weighing of options, we collectively made the decision to continue with our regularly-scheduled mediation sessions — for now.

One area that requires immediate  correction when discussing this subject is our actual progress in bargaining. At our last meeting we stated that all of the articles on which we had reached a tentative agreement were on the website. This was incorrect, and numerous articles had in fact been left out. This was an unfortunate error on our part in our communications with you and we will endeavor to improve this as this process continues. Please click here to see all of our currently-agreed articles with the city.

While some progress has been made, there remains numerous frustrations in our dealings with Management. In our most recent meeting with their team we were asked what could be done to bring this process across the finish line. We responded plainly, telling them that they would need to shift on financials to bring us more in line with the current reality of the Portland labor market. They appeared surprised that their offer — which amounts to little more than back-to-book language and a meager COLA (without retro!) — was not enough compensation for a workforce that had weathered a pandemic and the challenges that brings to public workers. They promised to take our asks seriously, requesting an additional day before our next mediation session to fully consider it.

Let’s be clear here. Our next mediation session is set for the 30th of November. If next Tuesday Management continues to undervalue their employees as they have done so far, they’ll find out who it is who MAKES “The City That Works”, work.

I wish you all a Happy and Restful Thanksgiving.

In Solidarity and Community,

Rob Martineau, President AFSCME Local 189