Union Representing Legislative Staff Increases Pressure for a Contract

More than 200 staffers are eligible to join but getting an agreement is a slow process.

AIDE: A staffer for Sen. James Manning , Jr.(D-North Eugene) walks the halls of the Capitol. (Blake Benard)

Now that the Legislature has gone back to work, the more than 200 employees who staff the offices of elected lawmakers want their bosses to remember their commitment to finalize the labor contract that would make Oregon the first state with unionized legislative staff.

The negotiating process has been slow, in part because of the novelty of the workforce seeking unionization, and in part because of the unusual nature of the employer: Each of the 90 lawmakers employ their own staff; Democrats and Republicans must work together in negotiations; and when they are in session, lawmakers want to focus on passing legislation.

Related: The Labor-Friendly Legislature Is Struggling to Walk Its Talk With Its Own Staff

For those reasons and more, it’s now been more than two years since the state Employee Relations Board ordered the sides to begin negotiating a contract. Negotiations won’t happen during session, per an agreement between the sides. But in an open letter now circulating in the Capitol, the union representing the legislative staffers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 89, made it clear it wants action after the session’s scheduled June 25 end date.

Here’s the letter:

IBEW Local 89 Letter

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