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|Articles - September 2011|
|Wednesday, August 24, 2011|
Page 5 of 5
Later in the afternoon, Sanchez checks out a job site in Lake Oswego where his union has a dispute with the drywall subcontractor. His conversation in Spanish with the employees there is tense and terse.
“They are hard-core employees,” he says as he heads to the job site trailer. “They feel loyal because they are happy to have work.”
“See you on the picket line,” says the project manager with a grin.
Sanchez maintains an easy rapport with most of the people he speaks to, but not everyone is a fan of his union’s tactics. Months before Nagy pled guilty, demonstrators routinely gathered in front of the offices of Portland contractor S.D. Deacon to declare him guilty, with a huge poster showing Nagy’s mug shot. And these demonstrators were not necessarily union workers, since the carpenters union hires day laborers for political work, including homeless people who are not union members. That tactic does not sit well with some union members. One commenter at Oregon Business’ website, oregonbusiness.com, responded to a news story about the campaign by charging that the carpenters union had mob ties and “recently closed all Locals and tossed all delegates who were elected by the membership out of office and installed hand-picked yes men.”
Those charges are not as outlandish as they sound. The carpenters union does have documented historic connections to organized crime (in New York) and the Pacific Northwest Regional Council did recently replace local delegates in a major restructuring following charges of financial impropriety. The carpenters are not members of the national AFL-CIO union coalition or the local building trades council, and have quarreled with both groups over organizing tactics and strategy.
John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Oregon State Building & Construction Trades Council, says: “There is a bit of friction [between the carpenters union and others in the building trades], but we try our best to have a working relationship with them, because we’re signatory partners and our members work the same job sites as theirs do... It definitely complicates things.”
Jimmy Matta, the top official of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, based in Kent, Wash., offers no apologies about the aggressive tactics his union employs. “We are passionate about cheaters,” he says. “We are passionate about crooks.”
Matta led a hard-nosed campaign against underground construction labor in Seattle that pointed fingers at a development company owned by billionaire Paul Allen, among other targets. He says one goal of the recent restructuring is to replicate those tough tactics in Portland. “We built a strong track record in Washington, and we’re going to do the same thing here,” says Matta.
Sanchez echoes that sentiment as he returns to the Portland office at the end of another day of watchdogging job sites.
“Some people say we’re bullies,” says Sanchez. “They say we just want our way. But we are fighting for what is right. And we are not going to stop.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.
Monday, July 06, 2015
BY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST
Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night.
Friday, May 15, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
BY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER
Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.
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