Workers’ Rights Board

The Portland Area Workers’ Rights Board

The Portland Workers’ Rights Board offers workers a public, community forum where they can bring their complaints against employers for violating their human and legal rights in the workplace.

The Board is drawn from a broad spectrum of political, faith, academic, legal, and community leaders that can intervene with employers and the public to help resolve situations that threaten workers’ rights.

As a result of a variety of systemic and institutional barriers, low-wage jobs tend to be disproportionately filled by women, workers of color, immigrants, differently-abled workers, and young workers. This is why the Board believes that it is especially important to support the efforts of low wage workers to achieve justice and equity in the workplace.  Safe, living wage jobs, where workers are not discriminated against for speaking up for their rights, are the backbone of any healthy community.

Statement of Purpose

The Portland Area Workers’ Rights Board is convened to bring to light and respond to injustices in the workplace. The Board also fights for community labor standards that respect the dignity of all workers. Decades of attacks on labor have eroded workers’ rights. Workers are often intimidated or fired for speaking out or for union organizing. All too often the community does not know these stories. It is time for workers voices to be heard by our community.

Primary Goals

Investigate incidents where employers are accused of violating workers rights or unfairly resisting efforts of workers to have a voice in their workplace.
• Elevate the voices of workers struggling for justice and equity in their workplace, and support and strengthen workers’ democratic rights through community education.
• Establish community standards about fairness in the workplace that will serve as a moral benchmark to which employers can be held accountable.

Board Activities

• Meeting with workers and employers to investigate complaints.
• Holding public hearings to take testimony and raise public awareness of issues.
• Holding press conferences to publicize specific struggles through the media.
• Writing letters of support for workers’ struggles.
• Developing statements of principle to foster community support for fair labor standards.
• Participating in community events to raise awareness about workers rights, including the right to organize and bargain collectively.

Issues the Board Might Address Include, But Are Not Limited to

• Arbitrary and unfair treatment by supervisors or managers.
• Health and safety complaints.
• Working conditions and the rights of Workfare participants.
• Support for workers exercising their democratic right to organize.
• Illegal firing of workers.
• Violations of workers’ rights and unfair labor practices
• Working conditions in low-wage industries

Past Workers’ Rights Board Reports

Hearing on COVID-19 Bill of Rights for Providence Nurses, March 2021
Hearing on labor & human rights violations in LIFT paratransit service, May 2018
Hearing on exploitation of immigrant carpenters, July 2017
Hearing on safe staffing for nurses Legacy Health system, May 2007
Hearing on contract negotiations for teachers at PPS, Feb 2003
Hearing on labor, health, safety, and environmental practices at Oregon Steel, Sept 2000
Hearing on contract negotiations at Powell’s Books, June 2000

Workers’ Rights Board Organizing Committee

  • Dr. Veronica Dujon – Professor, Portland State University (Workers’ Rights Board Chair)
  • Dr. Martin Hart-Landsberg – Professor Emeritus of Economics, Lewis & Clark College
  • Jean Eilers – Co-Chair of the JwJ Faith-Labor Committee
  • Corinna Spencer-Scheurich – Director, Northwest Workers’ Justice Project

Current Workers’ Rights Board Members
*Organizations listed for identification purposes only

  • Bill Bigelow – Rethinking Schools
  • Mother Alcena Boozer – St Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church
  • Jules Boykoff – Professor, Pacific University
  • Dr. Johanna Brenner – Professor Emerita, Portland State University
  • Rev Donald Buxman – Christ the King Catholic Church
  • Andrea Cano – Chaplain
  • Serena Cruz Walsh – Former Multnomah Co. Comm.
  • Ed Curtin, community and Catholic organizer
  • Tony DeFalco – Executive Director, Latino Network
  • Michael Dembrow – State Representative
  • Barbara Dudley – Professor, Portland State University
  • Dr. Veronica Dujon – Professor, Portland State University
  • Jill Ginsberg – Family Physician
  • Avel Gordly – former State Senator
  • Jo Ann Hardesty – Portland City Commissioner
  • Dr. Martin Hart-Landsberg – Professor Emeritus of Economics, Lewis & Clark College
  • Julie Hastings – Professor, Portland Community College
  • Cathy Highet – Attorney-at-Law
  • Brian Hoop – Bureau of Neighborhoods, City of Portland
  • Susheela Jayapal – Multnomah County Commissioner
  • Erious Johnson – Attorney-at-Law
  • Dr. Mary King – Economics Professor Emerita, Portland State University
  • Rev. Mark Knutson – Augustana Lutheran Church
  • Tina Kotek – Speaker of the Oregon State House of Representatives
  • Fr. Chuck Lienert – St Andrew Catholic Church
  • Reyna Lopez – Executive Director, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
  • Nikki Mandell – History Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Sharon Meieran – Multnomah County Commissioner
  • Rev. Terry Moe – Redeemer Lutheran Church
  • Dede Montgomery – Safety and Health Professional, MS, CIH
  • Fr. Jack Mosbrucker – St Therese Catholic Ch, retired
  • Rob Nosse – State Representative
  • Steve Novick – Willamette Week Activist of the Year
  • Don Oman – Owner, Casa Bruno
  • Huy Ong – Executive Director, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
  • Juan Carlos Ordoñez—Oregon Center for Public Policy
  • Dr. Jose Padin – Professor, Portland State University
  • Jessica Vega Pederson – Multnomah County Commissioner
  • Lolenzo Poe – Coalition of Black Men
  • Debra Porta – Executive Director, Pride Northwest
  • Verna Porter – Council of Senior Citizens
  • Rev. Cecil Prescod – United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Pat Ross –  United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Gene Ross – United Church of Christ
  • Rev. John Schwiebert – Metanoia Peace Community
  • Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell – First Unitarian Church Minister Emerita
  • Rev Lynne Smouse Lopez – Ainsworth UCC
  • Tina Turner-Morfitt, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro – BlueGreen Alliance
  • Rev. Dr. David Wheeler – First Baptist Church
  • Chris Wold – Professor, Lewis & Clark Law School
  • Rabbi Joseph Wolf – Havurah Shalom
  • Rev. Connie Yost – President, Farm Worker Ministries Northwest
  • Elliott Young – Professor, Lewis & Clark College

More Information

The Portland Workers’ Rights Board is a community-based project of Portland Jobs with Justice, a coalition of over 100 labor unions, community, faith, and student organizations. Portland Jobs with Justice is part of a national coalition that works to promote economic justice and human rights for working people and their families. There are more than 40 Jobs with Justice chapters nationwide.

For more information, contact Jobs with Justice at 503.236.5573,, or submit a request.