Portland’s park rangers are sticking to their still-unrecognized union.
Ranger Sam Sachs will urge City Council this morning to voluntarily recognize the rangers as part of Local Laborers 483.
"At a very basic core level, park rangers want what everyone wants: to be valued in the work place...to have a voice," says Sachs, who will testify to council this morning.
The rangers first asked Mayor
Charlie Hales to unionize in March. He said he favored the idea, but wouldn’t
fast-track it past the state application process.
The park rangers program was started in 2011 by City Commissioner Nick Fish, who decided to replace the Portland Business Alliance-hired security guards in city parks.
But the city does not classify all these workers as park rangers. Many have been termed “community service aides” and “recreation leaders” because they only work seasonally.
Labor representatives say the city is misclassifying workers to avoid paying benefits.
“The reality is that all of these workers are wearing the park ranger uniform when patrolling the parks,” says Megan Hise, spokeswoman for Local Laborers 483. “They take the same trainings. They report for duty just like any park ranger.”