July 29, 2019

Chair Deborah Kafoury joined Mayor Ted Wheeler and Metro President Lynn Peterson on Monday in support of a historic labor agreement between the group working to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, the Portland Diamond Project, and the Oregon AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions.

The “harmony’’ agreement proactively allows employees working at Portland’s future ballpark to organize and join a union. It is the first of its kind for sports arenas in Oregon.

“The announcement today represents a collaborative effort to create living wage jobs,” said Chair Kafoury. “As we consider what Major League Baseball could mean for our community, it’s important that we work together to create economic opportunity for those who need it most. This labor agreement is a strong first step.”

The Chair spoke at a press event at the Oregon AFL-CIO union hall in southeast Portland. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain said that “Oregon’s unions are proud to be a part of the efforts to bring baseball to the Rose City and to be a part of the only unionized sports arena in the state of Oregon.  By giving workers the unfettered opportunity for union representation, we are securing a bright economic future for the women and men who will make baseball happen in Portland. When working people stand together in unions, we get a fair return on our hard work.”

Craig Cheek of the Portland Baseball Diamond Project presents a prospective jersey to Tom Chamberlain, head of Oregon AFL-CIO.

The agreement includes terms for future employees working in concessions, program and retail sales, property service and security, hospitality service, stage and theatrical presentations, and entertainment and audio/visual services. Agreements regarding ballpark construction jobs and other community benefits will be addressed at a later date.

“Unions and their hard-working members are essential to a regional economy that works for working people,” said Portland Diamond Project Founder and President Craig Cheek.This agreement is just the beginning of PDP’s efforts to generate economic opportunities for Portlanders and people across the region.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Portland has a proud tradition of supporting sports teams, such as the Portland Thorns and Timbers, and welcoming ball players, from Satchel Page to Joe Dimaggio. But he also spoke of the importance of doing this development right. 

Metro Council President Lynn Peterson said “Labor peace agreements have the power to help workers not only here locally, but all over the country. Our requirement for a Labor Peace Agreement at the Hyatt Regency at the Oregon Convention Center laid the groundwork for Hyatt and unions to have productive discussions about employee rights and benefits nationwide.”

Labor unions involved include the Oregon AFL-CIO; Oregon AFSCME Council 75; International Association of Machinists, Local Lodge 63; UNITE HERE Local 8; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council No. 5; IATSE Local 28; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555; UA Local 290; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48; IUOE Local 701; Public Service And Industrial Employees (Laborers Local 737); Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 16; Boilermakers Local 104l; and SAG-AFTRA Portland.

You can read more about efforts to bring baseball to Portland at portlanddiamondproject.com.

County Chair Kafoury congratulates Tom Chamberlain of the AFL_CIO.