Sad news from Portland's most beloved landmark: Powell's Books has laid off 31 workers, effective Tuesday, February 8. The major independent bookstore sent out an all-staff email Tuesday morning alerting its workers of the mass dismissal—all 31 employees were lower-level staffers, no managers were cut. Union rep Ryan Van Winkle says the cuts represent about seven percent of the unionized workforce at Powell's and he worries the company will try to fill their spots with managers or temporary workers. "We're going to be doing more work with less people," Van Winkle says. The union and Powell's worked together over the past year to avoid layoffs by cutting hours, but in a statement issued after the Mercury broke news of the layoffs, the company wrote that the market downturn forced layoffs: "Consumer behavior—how, where, and what people read—has changed dramatically over the past several years." SARAH MIRK


Employees of a youth shelter partially funded by a city grant to aid underage sex workers are picketing this week, saying social service agency Janus Youth is pressuring their Industrial Workers of the World union to sign a contract with unfair conditions. Janus Youth received a $285,000 city contract this fall to provide up to four beds specifically for teens who are suspected victims of sex trafficking. Counselors in the program waved signs, chanted, and distributed fliers outside Janus Youth offices on NE Couch this week, demanding the 50-cent-per-hour wage increase that workers say they were promised when the city and Janus inked their deal. The union is also upset about a clause requiring expensive mandatory arbitration when someone is fired. SM