Uneasy Reception for Portland Day Labor Center
- By Tiffany Ten Eyck, Labor Notes
The Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council initially released a statement asking the city not to fund the center, on grounds that city funds would be spent to support undocumented immigrants.
The Northwest Oregon Labor Council, which represents many unions in the area, followed suit.
But Sheckler said that his union’s previous relationship with VOZ helped draw connections between union members and the center.
Last year, for example, the Carpenters had showed VOZ how to put a lien against a condominium developer that was not paying day laborers. This practice, common in building trades unions, makes it impossible for the company to sell a property until it deals with wage claims.
“We’re all workers in the same industry,” Sheckler said. “If you let contractors get away with this, they’ll be able to hurt all construction workers.”
Unions can benefit from the relationship, too. VOZ will notify the Carpenters if contractors that the union has targeted for campaigns are picking up laborers at the center.