The Port of Portland Commission approved an initiative that would “enhance the worker experience” for food and retail workers.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The Port of Portland Commission approved an initiative that would “enhance the worker experience” for food and retail workers as well as bag handlers, wheelchair attendants, fuelers and others.
The plan addresses many but not all of the workers’ major concerns.
The initiative applies to the combined workforce of 2,000 contract workers, as well as to the 36 concessionaires that contract with the port and 19 companies – known as airport service providers — that furnish support services as subcontractors to the major airlines at PDX. Commission President Jim Carter said that while the port was deferring to the state on the issue of raising the minimum wage, now at $9.25 an hour, the initiative does provide a set of principles for addressing other concerns involving worker benefits, hiring and retention practices, and management-labor relationships.
Among other things, the initiative calls for establishing a PDX Labor Pool of laid-off employees, coupled with a requirement that employers make a good-faith effort to hire from the pool. New airport service providers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees potentially could be required to hire 80 percent of their employees from the outgoing company for a minimum of 60 days – a provision aimed at giving greater job security to low-wage workers.
Workers lauded the initiative in public testimony, according to the Oregonian.
From another OregonLive.com story:
Gladys Hernandez and Kasil Kapriel, both employed as wheelchair attendants by Huntleigh USA, said they were encouraged by the commission’s action.
“For me, it’s a victory,” said Hernandez, who said she earns the minimum $9.25 an hour after more than seven years on the job. “This is the beginning of changes for the workers.”