The Portland Area Workers’ Rights Board

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


Statement of Purpose | Primary Goals | Board Activities | Potential Issues | Members | More Info

The Board is drawn from a broad spectrum of community leaders and can intervene with employers and the public to help resolve situations that threaten workers’ rights. The Board believes that it is especially important to support the efforts of low wage workers, who tend to be women, immigrants, young workers, and workers of color, to achieve justice 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. Workers’ Rights Boards currently exist in thirteen cities across the country.

Statement of Purpose

The Portland Workers’ Rights Board is convened to bring to light and respond to injustices in the workplace. The Board also fights for community labor standards which respect the dignity of all workers. In recent years workers’ rights have been eroded. 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.

• Establish community standards about fairness in the workplace that will serve as a moral benchmark to which employers can be held accountable.

• Support and strengthen workers’ democratic rights through community education.


Board Activities

• Establishing a workers’ rights hotline.

• 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.

• Monitoring fair elections for union recognition.


Issues the Board Might Address

• 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 during an organizing drive.

• Creation of a living wage policy for publicly funded jobs.

• Working conditions in low wage industries


Current Workers’ Rights Board Members

  • Michael Arken – Association of Retired Americans
  • Bill Bigelow – Rethinking Schools
  • Mother Alcena Boozer – St Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church
  • Dr. Johanna Brenner – Portland State University
  • Rev Donald Buxman – Christ the King Catholic Church
  • Dr. Barbara Byrd – Labor Education Research Center
  • Andrea Cano – community leader
  • Margaret Carter – former State Senator
  • Valerie Chapman – St. Francis Catholic Church
  • Serena Cruz Walsh – Former Multnomah Co. Comm.
  • Rev. Chuck Currie – United Church of Christ
  • Michael Dembrow – State Representative
  • Rev. David Dornack – Rose City Park Presbyterian Church
  • Barbara Dudley – Professor, Portland State University
  • Veronica Dujon – Professor, Portland State University
  • Nellie Fox-Edwards – Senior Advocate
  • Chris Frost – Attorney-at-Law
  • Cassandra Garrison – Anti-poverty activist
  • Rev Bill Gates – Parkrose United Methodist Church
  • Jill Ginsberg – Family Physician
  • Steven Goldberg – Attorney-at-Law
  • Armando Gonzales – MeCHA
  • Martin Gonzalez – Portland School Board
  • Avel Gordly – former State Senator
  • Dr Martin Hart-Landsberg – Professor, Lewis and Clark College
  • Julie Hastings – Professor, Portland Community College
  • Diego Hernandez – Oregon State Representative, House District 47
  • Brian Hoop – Bureau of Neighborhoods, City of Portland
  • Teresa Huntsinger – Oregon Environmental Council
  • 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
  • Randy Leonard – Portland City Council
  • David Leslie – Executive Director, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • Raleigh Lewis – Coalition of Black Men
  • Fr. Chuck Lienert – St Andrew Catholic Church
  • Francisco Lopez – CAUSA Oregon
  • Rev. Terry Moe – Redeemer Lutheran Church
  • Fr. Jack Mosbrucker – St Therese Catholic Ch, retired
  • Steve Novick – Willamette Week Activist of the Year
  • Don Oman – Owner, Casa Bruno
  • Dr. Jose Padin – Professor, Portland State University
  • Jessica Vega Pederson – Multnomah County Commissioner
  • Lolenzo Poe – Coalition of Black Men
  • Verna Porter – Council of Senior Citizens
  • Rev. Cecil Prescod – United Church of Christ
  • Anita Rodgers – McKenzie River Gathering Foundation
  • Diane Rosenbaum – State Representative
  • Rev. Pat Ross –  United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Gene Ross – United Church of Christ
  • Rev. John Schwiebert – Metanoia Peace Community
  • Denny Scott – United Brotherhood of Carpenters Retired
  • Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell – First Unitarian Church Minister Emerita
  • Rev Lynne Smouse Lopez – Ainsworth UCC
  • Romeo Sosa – Executive Director, Voz Workers’ Rights Project
  • Dick Springer – Former State Senator
  • Kathleen Sullivan – Former Director, NARAL
  • Anne Sweet – Workforce Development
  • Joseph Tam – Former school board member
  • Randy Tucker – Environmental advocate
  • Ranfis Villatoro – Community Organizer
  • Nancy Weed – Oregon Human Rights Coalition
  • Rev. Dr. David Wheeler – First Baptist Church
  • Rev. Steve Witte – farmworker advocate
  • Chris Wold – Professor, Lewis and Clark Law School
  • Rabbi Joseph Wolf – Havurah Shalom
  • Elliott Young – Professor, Lewis and Clark College
  • Erious Johnson – Attorney at Law
  • Huy Ong – Executive Director, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

Organizations listed for identification purposes only

The Portland Worker’s Rights’ Board is a community-based project of Portland Jobs with Justice, a coalition of labor unions, community organizations, faith-based organizations and other concerned people. 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.