Oregon Public Broadcasting Workers Picket Portland Office

The nonprofit’s contract with SEIU expired June 30, and a union representative says contract talks are “pretty tense.”

Service Employees International Union Local 503 picketed Oregon Public Broadcasting’s South Macadam Avenue headquarters Aug. 2.

The union represents 26 OPB employees, including video editors, camera operators, and some administrative employees (news reporters and on-air employees are not represented). SEIU spokesman Sergey Turzhanskiy says the union’s representation of OPB workers dates to at least 1983 when the broadcaster spun off from public ownership.

OPB has proven itself a fundraising colossus in recent times, with revenues of $48.5 million in 2020, about 50% more than five years ago.

The nonprofit’s contract with SEIU expired June 30, and a union representative says contract talks are “pretty tense.” SEIU was particularly unhappy that OPB gave all unrepresented employees a $1,000 stipend this year but did not give that stipend to union members.

OPB CEO Steve Bass declined to discuss contract specifics but says he’s optimistic: “We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”