Hundreds demonstrated in Center City Philadelphia on a rainy evening Dec. 3. Called by the Philadelphia Palestine Coalition, the event started with a rally and prayer service in Rittenhouse Park, followed by a march that ended at 40th and Market streets for a solidarity rally with the Save UC Townhomes Coalition. Two sound trucks led the way, followed by lead banners calling out the murderous genocide, carried out by Israel but funded by the U.S., that has taken the lives of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Along the route, protesters stopped to call out two Zionist-run restaurants. They marched by the University of Pennsylvania campus, where activist students are under attack by university trustees with major investments in Israel.
There are more than 4,500 educators and 45,000 students in Portland Public Schools (PPS) in Oregon —and that adds up to about 50,000 reasons why Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) members are going on strike tomorrow. These dedicated educators and students don’t have what they need—and deserve—to be successful. Here are 50 more reasons: REASON #1: Enormous Class Sizes: Portland teacher Tiffany Koyoma-Lane has had as many as 31 students in her third-grade class, competing for her attention. Frankly, not all of them get it. “The difference between 21 and 31? Every student and family gets less of me,” she says. Class size caps would improve learning, union members say.
The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) walked out on strike today, closing 81 schools. The 4,500-member union is demanding more counselors, more planning time for teachers, more support for special education students, smaller class sizes, and increased salaries and cost-of-living adjustments. The union’s demands “are a paradigm shift for the state of Oregon,” said ninth grade teacher Sarah Mykkanen. “We aren’t just reacting to something negative, we are demanding a whole new view of what schools do, of how schools give students what they need.” The union represents classroom teachers in the Portland Public Schools.
On October 4, 75,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in several US states are set to go on strike for three days following the breakdown of contract negotiations last week. A coalition of several unions representing health workers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Washington, DC is battling the nonprofit health giant for safe staffing levels, cost of living pay increases, and against a two-tier pay system that Kaiser is trying to introduce. The largest union in the coalition is Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) with 57,443 members, but the coalition also includes Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 30, SEIU Local 49, OPEIU Local 2 and others.
In the summer of 2022, it seemed that the days of an oil-by-rail facility in Portland, Oregon, were numbered. The previous year, the city had rejected a land use permit for a company called Zenith Energy, which receives crude oil shipped by rail from as far away as North Dakota. Zenith had appealed the decision, but had already suffered a string of defeats in the state. Climate activists and community associations, who were concerned about the risks associated with oil-by-rail shipments, counted the city’s rejection of the permit as a major victory, and were tantalizingly close to prevailing over the company.
Unions representing more than 85,000 healthcare workers have held pickets at 50 facilities across California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado amid new contract negotiations as their current union contracts are set to expire on 30 September. The negotiations at Kaiser Permanente are the third largest set of contract negotiations in the US in 2023, behind the 340,000 workers at UPS who will be voting on a tentative agreement this month that was reached days before planned strike action, and 150,000 autoworkers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis whose contracts are set to expire on 14 September.
Portland Airport (PDX) wheelchair attendants, baggage and service workers, cabin cleaners and janitors held a militant picket and sit-down protest June 28 on the United Airlines departures roadway. PDX maintenance workers are fighting for the right to sit down between tasks on the job. They are demanding respect, the right to a union at United, health insurance and more. A Passenger Service Agent told demonstrators: “Our jobs involve hard physical repetitive labor that puts us at risk of workplace injuries. We are also at risk of contagious diseases. Our public health care is insufficient, and workers comp is so complicated, we need a lawyer to use it.”
When Oregon democrats introduced a new state domestic terrorism bill in February, civil rights groups were reminded of a similar piece of legislation — and began sounding the alarm. Georgia expanded its state domestic terrorism statute in 2017 in response to the mass shooting perpetrated by white supremacist Dylann Roof against Black churchgoers in neighboring South Carolina. Atlanta legislators claimed that broadening their own state’s domestic terror laws to include certain attacks on property would somehow keep the public safe from far-right violence. Critics of the legislation in Georgia said at the time that it could be used to target environmentalists and anti-racist activists as well.
Portland, Oregon - Dozens of Portland postal union members, union and community leaders rallied Feb. 20 in support of postal workers, demanding “good service, good jobs and a good contract.” Drivers passing by honked and showed support. “Our U.S. Postal Service is under attack,” read one of the rally leaflets. Signs and chants called for dumping Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who is trying to privatize the Postal Service. Speakers told how cuts to the Postal Service are creating mail delays and understaffing and forcing postal workers to work excessive overtime.
Portland, Oregon - A strike among Portland city workers ended after they reached a tentative agreement with the city Saturday. The agreement came after 12 hours of mediation between the city and workers represented by Laborers Local 483. It remains tentative until the Portland City Council approves it. More than 600 Portland workers went on strike early Thursday after nearly a year of negotiations broke down over wages. They had been without a contract since June. Local 483 includes people responsible for fixing sewage leaks, cleaning trash at city parks, and clearing streets of ice and snow, among other tasks. “I think there’s a lot of work yet to be done, but this is a great foundation to build upon for our membership and really for working standards in the whole Portland community,” said Local 483 field representative James O’Laughlen.
Portland, Oregon - This year’s climate conference, COP 27, focused a lot on loss and damage compensation. The question of who should foot the bill for our current climate crisis has highlighted a growing conversation around planetary boundaries and collective responsibility. The disparate impacts of historical emissions on Global South communities show us that pushing waste, emissions, and externalities out of sight isn’t only unjust, it’s unsustainable. And while these problems continue to unfold on a global scale, each country, city, and locality’s role in perpetuating them — or helping to craft solutions — has been brought to center stage. Portland’s Emerging Circular Economy Sustainable waste reduction requires a transition from a linear economy — one where goods get used for a short period and then wind up in a landfill — to a circular one that prioritizes sharing, repairing, reuse, and creative upcycling.
Portland, Oregon - A new study by a pair of researchers tried to find the root cause of homelessness in cities across the U.S. It revealed how Portland's housing market plays a much bigger part in the crisis than many might think. The urban study called “Homelessness is a Housing Problem” found that the biggest factors in the homeless crisis are not necessarily addiction or mental health but rather a combination of high rent prices and a lack of affordable housing. “Any given night in Multnomah County, five per 1,000 people are experiencing homelessness, which is quite a high number,” said Clayton Aldern, one of the researchers behind the study. The data dates back to 2019 and looks at the 30 largest urban areas in the country.
Green groups in Oregon celebrated on Wednesday after NW Natural withdrew its application for approval to build a green hydrogen pilot program in Eugene, citing local uproar. "This should be a lesson, not just for NW Natural but for all toxic polluters—the West Eugene community is not a sacrifice zone," said Lisa Arkin, executive director of Beyond Toxics, in a statement. "Eugene residents will not be forced to be guinea pigs for experimental and dangerous technology that perpetrates fossil fuel infrastructure, environmental injustices, and more air toxics," Arkin added. "This project was absolutely unacceptable, and its withdrawal is a testament to the power of community opposition."
In March, both the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), collectively representing more than 300,000 workers in the state, passed a resolution calling for the state of Oregon to divest from the fund that owns Israeli spyware firm NSO. The resolution also calls on the state to implement a human rights screening for all future investments. And just weeks ago, the Oregon Education Association, representing more than 40,000 teachers, passed a similar resolution at its convention. The passing of these resolutions comes after multiple investigations revealed a shocking record of human rights abuses committed by governments around the world using NSO’s controversial Pegasus spyware.
Starbucks workers at a location in Eugene, Oregon went on strike on Tuesday to protest the union busting at their location and the unlawful firing of three organizers. The workers at this Starbucks store voted 17-0 in favor of unionizing. They are part of the massive Starbucks unionization wave, with 70 other stores nationwide winning union elections and over 250 stores filing to unionize. Starbucks, however, is doing everything it can to stop this wave. As Starbucks Workers United described in a statement: “Starbucks has continued to cut workers’ hours, coerce them into voting against union representation by mischaracterizing the law and preemptively refusing to engage in good faith bargaining… Starbucks has failed to recognize their union despite having no good-faith reason not to.”