The Portland Area Workers’ Rights Board

Hearing on Labor & Human Rights Violations in Portland Paratransit Service

ParaTransit_WRB_Postcard_GraphicThursday May 17
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
University of Oregon Portland
70 NW Couch St. PDX

You are invited to an important upcoming hearing of the Portland Area Workers’ Rights Board on labor and human rights violations in Portland area paratransit services. This hearing about securing fair, just, and equitable treatment for paratransit Lift drivers and riders will be held on

Portland area Lift paratransit service primarily serves people with disabilities and the elderly. While the Lift service is overseen by TriMet it is outsourced to First Transit, which is part of the multinational corporation, First Group. Join us for this hearing where the Portland Area Workers’ Rights Board will hear testimony from drivers and riders about labor and human rights violations they have experienced since First Transit took over local paratransit service. We’ll also hear testimony on possible alternatives and solutions, as well and recommendations from the Workers’ Rights Board panel.

We will hear testimony from:

  • Paratransit drivers about why about the poor conditions they have to work in,
  • Riders about how poor service is for them under First Transit’s management,
  • Care workers whose jobs are effective by the poor service and inefficiency of the local paratransit system, and
  • Public transit systems specialists about systems in place in other cities that work better and can provide solutions locally.

At Portland Jobs with Justice, we truly believe that an injury to one is an injury to all, and that showing up in solidarity and supporting each other’s struggles is vital to building a successful labor movement. In that spirit, we hope that you, your staff, and members will be able to attend this important hearing in support of paratransit drivers and their elder and disabled riders!

The space this hearing is held in is ADA accessible.
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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 | Primary Goals | Board Activities | Potential Issues | Organizing CommitteeMembers | More Info

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


Workers’ Rights Board Organizing Committee

  • Veronica Dujon – Professor, Portland State University (Workers’ Rights Board Chair)
  • Erica Askin – SEIU Local 49 in-house council
  • Dr Martin Hart-Landsberg – Professor Emeritus of Economics, Lewis & Clark College
  • Jean Eilers – Co-Chair of the JwJ Faith-Labor Committee


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
  • Andrea Cano – Chaplain
  • 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 – Former Portland Public School Board Member
  • Avel Gordly – former State Senator
  • Dr Martin Hart-Landsberg – Professor Emeritus of Economics, Lewis & Clark College
  • Julie Hastings – Professor, Portland Community College
  • Diego Hernandez – Oregon State Representative, House District 47
  • Cathy Highet – Attorney-at-Law
  • Brian Hoop – Bureau of Neighborhoods, City of Portland
  • Teresa Huntsinger – Oregon Environmental Council
  • 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
  • Randy Leonard – Portland City Council
  • David Leslie – Former Executive Director, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • Raleigh Lewis – Coalition of Black Men
  • Fr. Chuck Lienert – St Andrew Catholic Church
  • 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
  • Huy Ong – Executive Director, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
  • 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 – Former State Senator
  • 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 Giannettino Villatoro – BlueGreen Alliance
  • Nancy Weed – Oregon Human Rights Coalition
  • Rev. Dr. David Wheeler – First Baptist Church
  • Rev. Steve Witte – farmworker advocate
  • Chris Wold – Professor, Lewis & Clark Law School
  • Rabbi Joseph Wolf – Havurah Shalom
  • Elliott Young – Professor, Lewis & Clark College

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.