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 âfreakâ and asked if he was undergoing surgery in Thailand to get a âsmall Asian penis.â 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 Metroâs latest contract offer will hit them hard. The Laborersâ 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. âWeâve already agreed to increase workersâ cost on health care, so all weâre asking is that people donât have to take on that additional cost just to do their jobs,â 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. Theyâre calling it Zoolidarity.
WW reported last week it wasnât clear just how much business Vancouverâs 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 theyâre back in business. New Vansterdam, on East Mill Plain Boulevard, started doing business July 11, closed three days later and wonât 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. âWe loaded as much supply as we could,â Budz says. âFrom the customer-service perspective, itâs a nightmare. We donât want to close our doors.â