Union Drive Afoot at the MAC: Employees at the Multnomah Athletic Club are attempting to unionize, the club's interim general manager warned members in an email last week. Robert Radler wrote that management at the Southwest Portland club opposes the idea. "We feel that our employees are best served by continuing to work directly with management, without the risks and costs that come with the involvement of an outside, third-party union," he wrote, adding that the club will provide employees with information to make an "informed choice." It's not clear which union is organizing the campaign: Several union locals contacted by WW were unaware of a drive, and the MAC didn't respond to multiple voicemails seeking comment. The email comes a month after longtime MAC general manager Norm Rich announced his resignation.
Corrections Department Settles Flu Lawsuit for $70,000: The family of an Oregon woman who died last year of complications from the flu at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility received $70,000 this week in a legal settlement with the prison. WW first reported Tina Ferri's death, which the prison had not publicly disclosed ("A Bug in the System," WW, March 21, 2018). Ferri's family sued the Oregon Department of Corrections for wrongful death. "Although we disagree with many of the allegations in the lawsuit, we are pleased to have reached a settlement with Ms. Ferri's family," says DOC spokeswoman Jennifer Black. "We provide flu shots to all incarcerated individuals, while respecting the rights of those who choose not to be vaccinated." During depositions for the lawsuit, a state doctor acknowledged the state prison system is considering changes in its vaccination practices after Ferri died during a flu outbreak. Dr. Daniel Dewsnup said the prison system was considering an opt-out policy to make sure inmates either got a flu shot or actively declined it, "which I think is one of the good things that might come from this case."
Tofurky Sues to Keep "Burger" on Vegan Packaging: Hood River-based Tofurky, which makes soy-based meat alternative products, filed a lawsuit July 22 challenging an Arkansas law that would fine the company for labeling its products as meat products—or using words like "burger," "sausage" or "hot dog." The company has joined similar suits in Missouri and Mississippi. Tofurky said in a statement the laws violate the First and 14th Amendments by "improperly censoring truthful speech and creating consumer confusion in order to shore up the state's meat and rice industries." Tofurky president and CEO Jaime Athos says 11 states—but not Oregon—are considering laws that would prohibit meatlike language on plant-based food labels. "We quickly realized this was not going to be a state-by-state effort," Athos tells WW. "We're trying to ultimately get a ruling that will impact more than just one state."
City Employee Gets Payout for Hazing: The city of Portland is poised to pay $80,000 to a worker who alleged he was subjected to "extreme hazing" inside the Bureau of Transportation's maintenance shop. The City Council will vote Wednesday to approve a settlement with Adam Rawlins, who sued PBOT for $250,000 last year, alleging crew leaders subjected him to ritual humiliations, including being bound with zip ties and duct tape and locked in a shed. He was one of several employees to allege such abuse, but the only one to sue. WW first reported on the allegations ("Little Shop of Hazing," WW, May 31, 2017). The Oregonian first reported on the proposed settlement. "The 2016 incident was an egregious violation of the city's rules for professional conduct in the workplace," the Transportation Bureau says in a statement, saying it had restructured the maintenance division.