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Monday, June 4, 2007

Carpenters strike weakens at South Waterfront

Union drywallers continued their strike this morning, though at Portland's South Waterfront the pickets appeared to be less effective than on Friday. Adam Bonner, project manager for Hoffman Construction, said that even as picketing members of the Carpenters Union called them "scabs" and "rats", union ironworkers, electricians, plumbers, plasterers and glaziers went back to work.

About half the workforce at Block 38 went to work this morning, compared to about 10 percent Friday. Still, Bonner said he was unable to pour concrete on the seventh floor of the condo building under construction, and he also cancelled a safety meeting. "It had an impact on me," Bonner said.

The Pacific Northwest Region of Carpenters, which represents 1,300 drywallers in Oregon and Southwest Washington, whent on strike Friday after failing to reach an agreement with an association representing 11 contractors. The union says it wants a six percent raise in its new contract and has only been offered increases of between 3 and 4 percent.

Pickets went up this morning downtown at the historic Meier & Frank building and the Waterfront Pearl and Block 9 condo projects in the Pearl District.

Three high-rise cranes stood motionless along South Waterfront as union operating engineers appearently refused to cross the carpenters' picket line. A worker with Walsh Construction said its construction project at Block 39 would be shut down as well if union crane operators didn't show.