Stop Union-Busting at Community Alliance of Tenants

Kim McCarty, Executive Director, Community Alliance of Tenants

The Portland DSA Labor Working Group is launching this community petition after the severity of the union-busting efforts being undertaken by Management at the Community Alliance of Tenants was brought to light by the Union.

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To: Kim McCarty, Executive Director, Community Alliance of Tenants
From: [Your Name]

We the undersigned, are renters, and working-class Oregonians who are moved to address you now out of the solidarity we feel with the workers who formed CLU, the CAT Labor Union.

Voluntarily recognizing CLU, after the overwhelming majority support of workers to join CWA Local 7901 was demonstrated, is how Management at mission-driven nonprofits in Oregon should respond to staff unionization. We trusted that, after that exemplary first step, CAT Management would continue forward in respecting workers’ rights and bargaining a fair contract.

Unfortunately, the Union’s public statement made it clear that after the point of recognition, CAT Management embraced a posture that is overtly antagonistic to CLU and offensive to any respect to seeing the value of collective bargaining.

We were disappointed when we learned of the involvement of Audra Hepburg the “Senior Compliance Consultant” at Trüpp HR- seemingly invited to facilitate the rapid adoption of what are, simply put, anti-union ‘model policies’. Our disappointment grew to hear how it took a petition from the workers to force you to even schedule a negotiation session. That direct action followed Management’s imposition of a hiring policy on a unionized workforce. A policy that does not come close to approaching a union-standard at other organized nonprofits but that does effectively consolidate all the power in Management while masking that aim in meaningless overtures to valuing worker feedback.

However, we are outraged to learn of your decision to hide your regular meetings from the infamous union-busting law firm, Barran Liebman. That you went so far as to retain Nicole Elgin, an attorney who brags about intentionally frustrating bargaining processes in order to facilitate mass layoffs and with expertise in decertification campaigns…begs the question…

Why would all but the most anti-union employers have any need or desire for counsel with that ‘skillset’? Inviting this monstrosity to coach you in exchange for yet unknown (but what we imagine... must be enormous) sums of CAT’s resources in exchange for the ‘service’...and that you would then, write explicitly that “we [CAT Management] are not union-busting” to CLU and their chosen CWA Representatives less than a month ago… is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Each moment that you cede control of CAT to organizations like Trüpp HR and Barran Liebman is another moment of choosing to send donations intended to benefit tenants directly into the wallets of for-profit corporate evildoers.

It is unthinkable to know CAT Management authorised letting a heinous anti-union force loose against its own workforce, the very same ones on the front-lines of efforts to secure a true statewide eviction moratorium and the ability of Oregonians to feel stable in their communities and sense of home.

However, it is still within your power to make this right. Those with fiduciary responsibility to the mission of the CAT can and must do better.

We demand that CAT Management immediately take the following actions to demonstrate contrition for the indefensible actions that were kept hidden from the membership of CAT and from CLU:

1. Public announcement that, even while increasing staff size, CAT is committed to keep the same percentage of CAT’s workforce in the Represented Bargaining Unit as had existed at the time when recognition was granted, and affirm that CLU/CWA Local 7901 is the recognized and respected collective voice of CAT workers.

2. Public announcement of CAT’s intention to reverse every so-called ‘model policy’ that was given to you by Trüpp HR as well as those that were unilaterally implemented since recognition of CLU, and affirm that they are all subject to collective bargaining negotiations.

3. Immediately terminate the relationship with the union-busting firm Barran Liebman and apologize for involving CAT funds with an entity so diametrically opposed to CAT’s mission and membership, and publicly commit to bargaining in good faith.