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July 16th, 2014 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Smoke ’Em While You Got ’Em.

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  • Regional government Metro is having its share of employee troubles. The agency agreed to pay $50,000 July 15 to settle claims of discrimination brought by a transgender employee, who claimed co-workers called him “freak” and asked if he was undergoing surgery in Thailand to get a “small Asian penis.” He said Metro failed to take action after he complained and instead changed his work assignments and passed him over for promotion. The complaint also alleged Metro forced him to use an offsite restroom. The employee, through his attorney, Gloria Trainor, declined to comment. Metro officials also declined to talk. The agency does not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement, but Metro held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its headquarters in May to celebrate the opening of its first gender-neutral restroom.
  • Meanwhile, Oregon Zoo employees who take tickets, pick up trash and hand out ice-cream cones to screaming children say Metro’s latest contract offer will hit them hard. The Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 483 has asked for $15 an hour for its 500 members, whose contract expired June 30. Some make the $9.10-an-hour minimum wage. The union says Metro, which runs the zoo, has offered no raises (aside from cost-of-living increases) and wants employees to start paying $40 a month to park at the zoo. “We’ve already agreed to increase workers’ cost on health care, so all we’re asking is that people don’t have to take on that additional cost just to do their jobs,” says union business manager Erica Askin. Metro officials declined to discuss ongoing labor talks. Workers have launched a PR campaign that includes handing out stickers to zoo patrons. They’re calling it Zoolidarity.
  • WW reported last week it wasn’t clear just how much business Vancouver’s recreational pot vendors would do when they opened for the first time. The answer: They sold out of their supply within days. Main Street Marijuana ran out of pot after three days, but owner Ramsey Hamide said they’re back in business. New Vansterdam, on East Mill Plain Boulevard, started doing business July 11, closed three days later and won’t open again until July 18. New Vansterdam co-owner Brian Budz (Hotseat, WW, July 9, 2014) estimates the store sold 30 pounds of pot in the first three days. He says suppliers are struggling to provide more, and when the store reopens it will ration weed in 2-gram bags until its producers can catch up. “We loaded as much supply as we could,” Budz says. “From the customer-service perspective, it’s a nightmare. We don’t want to close our doors.”
 
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