City of Portland

Nearly 900 strong, our Portland members keep the city moving, performing vital services in nearly every bureau that benefit the Portland community.

Future of Work (FoW)

On March 26, your Future of Work (FoW) bargaining team kicked off Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) with the City, per the settlement to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) filed over the City’s initial refusal to bargain. We have sessions scheduled through mid-June. While the bargaining team is set, there are opportunities to inform the process through attending subcommittee discussions or sharing your story with a member of the bargaining team. You can review the priorities and interests identified from our member survey in 2022 in the graphics below.

A graph with four quadrants features a title box with text that reads, "Priorities." Each quadrant reads as following: 1) Minimum days in office 2) All reasons are valid reasons for an exception 3) Employee-centered process 4) Needs of full time in-person workers."

We are collecting member stories about what work has been like for you over the last few years, and how remote work has made those things better and/or ways the City still needs to do more to support workers (remote, hybrid, or in-person). Where have inconsistencies in City policies caused you problems? Who’s had a manager who is completely unwilling to be flexible on anything? What have you had to give up or radically change in your life, when the flexibility was rolled back? How do these policies affect your health, your friends and family, your actual work, and the rest of your life?

Alternating colorful blue boxes share different priorities/concerns in no particular order: "child and dependent care, health concerns, local economy stimulus, climate change and environmental concerns, racial and gender equality, disability support and accessibility, facilities issues, financial impacts, productivity and efficiency, personal safety concerns, retention and recruitment, transportation and commute concerns, well-being and mental health, work-life balance, flexible schedules, and culture concerns."

What rising healthcare costs means for members

As reported last month, the Labor Management Benefits Committee (LMBC) has been working on the benefits plan for Fiscal Year 24-25 and how to absorb the double-digit increases for the self-insured (Moda) and Kaiser plans, 11.9 and 14.1 percent increases, respectively. The City wanted to control costs (they pay 95% of the total healthcare premium) by making adjustments to bring the plans down to an eight percent increase, but this shifts more of the costs on to members through things like increased deductibles, larger copays, and much higher out of pocket maximums.

After many tough discussions, labor ultimately voted as a block to reject all proposed changes to both Moda and Kaiser plans. However, the work of the LMBC is to produce a recommendation to Council for final adoption. It will now be up to the City Budget Office, Mayor, and Council to determine how to absorb the additional costs (at the time bureaus built their budgets, they only budgeted for 5 percent increases). There is a long history of Council accepting the results of the LMBC vote, but it is not a guarantee, which means this is still a developing situation. What we do know is that premium shares will be increasing and that members should plan to attend an open enrollment information session in May to learn about other possible changes.

Rachel Whiteside, your Union Representative, serves on the Committee and Paul Cone, your Chapter President, regularly attends the meetings. Both are available to help answer your benefits related questions and will be providing updates at the April chapter meetings.

Inclement weather grievance update (April 2024)

Last month, I reported about a class action grievance that was being filed in response to inconsistent direction and differences from past practice regarding the January ice event. The grievance was denied at Step 1. An information request was submitted to prepare for advancing the grievance to Step 2. Additional updates will be provided at our upcoming chapter meetings or newsletters as this grievance progresses.

Fixing our Streets renewal measure

PROTEC17 has endorsed the renewal of the Fixing Our Streets program campaign, which provides critical funding to PBOT through a ten cent gas tax and heavy vehicle usage fee. The four-year renewal will appear on the May 21, 2024, primary ballot, and a successful “yes” vote is crucial to protecting the jobs of many of our PBOT members. More information can be found at Stay tuned for opportunities to volunteer for the campaign.