Debate Magazine

Deal to Unionize 80 Seasonal Parks Workers to Cost $2 Million

By Eowyn @DrEowyn
Unions shakedown that taxpayer money tree...

Unions shakedown that taxpayer money tree…

Oregon Live: Portland officials and the labor group representing many parks employees announced a deal Friday to unionize about 80 positions at an estimated cost of $2 million.

The agreement follows a labor grievance and arbitrator’s ruling in May that determined Portland hire seasonal employees to perform the work of unionized workers.

Laborers’ Local 483 and city leaders reached an agreement to unionize three positions most similar to jobs of existing represented workers — customer service representative II, preschool teachers and assistant pool managers.

The changes, retroactive to July 1, will cost the city about $25,000 more per employee for 80 posts — or $2 million. Much of the increase is tied to benefits.

Officials will also discuss other classification changes for hundreds of other seasonal parks workers, although none necessarily would carry such costs. For those positions, the city could resolve problems by removing work responsibilities that overlap with union employees.

The City Council will review and vote on the deal July 29.

Thanks to a flush economy taxpayers, the City Council taxpayers will likely be able to absorb the higher costs during budget modifications this fall. Otherwise, they could tap into a $2.2 million general fund taxpayer contingency.


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