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The Role of Unions

OPB | March 8, 2011 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:56 p.m.

The Portland School Board will vote approved on a 5-1 vote Monday night a new two year contract for teachers in the Portland Public School District. The contract would will give teachers a slight pay increase while also intensifying their evaluations. At the same time, dairy farmers are trying to unionize in rural areas of the Northwest. The Ruby Ridge Dairy in Pasco, Washington is currently embroiled in a litigious unionization process. The workers are calling for better labor conditions and pay, but the dairies claim that unionization would cripple the farms’ productivity and viability in the marketplace.

Meanwhile, Governor Kitzhaber is negotiating with Oregon’s public employee unions. Despite proposed cuts in wages and benefits, the dialogue between state government and unions in Oregon is expected to be much less heated than the battle currently being waged in Wisconsin.

Are you in a union? Have you ever been part of an organizing effort? Do your employees belong to a union? What benefits and drawbacks do you see to union membership?

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