Portland city worker strike continues ahead of weekend mediation

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:09 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It has been two days since about 600 Portland city employees began a strike demanding better pay.

The workers striking include those who treat and maintain roads, sewage treatment and management, and those who work in the city’s parks department, all represented by local 483.

FOX 12 crews ventured out to multiple Portland parks Friday including Washington Park and Peninsula Park. There was not a lot of buildup of trash, or anything needing to be repaired. One Portlander shared some concerns if the parks crews are not around to keep them nice.

“It would make me really sad, it’s a beautiful park, especially the rose garden on the other side always smells amazing in the summer,” said Kait who frequents Peninsula Park. “If it got dirty or not as safe and they’re not around as much, it wouldn’t be as fun to come here.”

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The city says because of the strike, trash collection in the parks could be delayed, as well as general maintenance of any facilities. Mayor Ted Wheeler has the authority to bring in temporary workers to fill in the gaps if needed. A union spokesperson shared their top concerns at the strike Friday morning.

“We want wages that respect our efforts, that recognize our ability to live in the city we serve, and we want safe working conditions,” said union spokesperson James O’Laughlen.

The Local 483 Union is asking for a 3.5% annual raise for all workers for the first two years of this next contract which the union has not had with the city since 2022. One worker for the city’s transportation bureau also says the city needs to do more to protect its workers from the public safety crisis on the streets.

“Cleaning sewers is one thing, but having another human being who may have mental illness spit on me, that wasn’t part on my job,” said PBOT worker Joshua Lapierre.

Local 483 says there is mediation with the city scheduled for Saturday