It’s official. Temporary food workers at the Oregon Zoo now belong to a union.
Yesterday, the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) approved membership in Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 483 for the zoo’s temporary kitchen, service workers, and caterers.
The ERB decision was the final piece of paperwork certifying a union election that occurred earlier this month in which zoo temps voted overwhelming to join Local 483. Metro, which runs the zoo, had until September 23 to challenge the election results. According to ERB Elections Coordinator Linda Gregg, Metro didn’t file any challenges. Without a challenge, ERB took the next step and rubber-stamped the new union membership.
As we reported, zoo food temps voted 61-4 in favor of joining the union. While this probably wasn’t the turnout Local 483 organizers had hoped for—142 workers were eligible to vote—it’s still a big win for the union.
The added food temps are expected to grow the union’s Metro membership from 207 employees to about 350 employees. The food temps will now be included with the rest of these workers as part of a single bargaining unit. The Metro contract for this unit is up for negotiation next June, but Local 483 representative Megan Hise told the Mercury that bargaining could be begin as early as next month, saying Metro was, “amenable to starting early.”