"Shame on Janus," cry the flyers being distributed by union workers from Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) across town last week, aiming to force Portland's only shelter for homeless youth to pay fair wages to its employees. The Janus shelter hosts roughly 60 homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 25 each night, and full-time workers there start at $10.25 an hour. But substitute workers, who fill in for the full-time staff on their days off, are paid a dollar less, and union organizer Chris Knudtsen says management has not been reasonable in negotiating the "basic fairness" issue.
Janus Executive Director Dennis Morrow, who earns over $140,000 a year plus benefits according to IWW, is on vacation until after Labor Day and could not be reached for comment or to confirm his salary.
"The irony is that it would probably have cost them less to pay their workers fairly than they have spent on legal bills in negotiating the contract," says Knudtsen. MD
State Senator Margaret Carter plans to resign her seat at the end of August to become the deputy director for human services programs at the Oregon Department of Human Services. Carter, one of only two African American state senators in Oregon, has been in the legislature since 1984. She delivered staunch remarks about African American inequality at the launch of the Urban League of Portland's State of Black Oregon report in July. North Portland State Representative Chip Shields has thrown his hat into the ring for Carter's seat, but he's not the only contender.
"I think Chip has been a really strong legislator, but I served in the house for six years in very trying times, and I just bring some things to the table that Chip just wouldn't bring," says former State Representative Jo Ann Bowman, who also wants the seat.
Former city council candidate Lew Frederick says he wants Shields' position, should Shields be successful in securing Carter's Senate seat.
County Commissioner Jeff Cogen's staffer Karol Collymore is also rumored to be considering a run for one of the available seats. "It's an idea in the ether, and it's a very interesting proposition," says Collymore, who plans to consider it while on vacation this week. "I think Chip is a great representative and would make a great senator," she adds. MD