Exclusive: Group pushing New Seasons unionization raises flags about owner Endeavour Capital

New Seasons workers rally to stop the Murdock Charitable Trust, which funds hate groups, from investing in and profiting off of New Seasons success.

Click Here to read the article at its source.


By Jon Bell  – Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal

Mar 1, 2018, 6:16am PST Updated 8 hours ago

The workers behind an effort to unionize New Seasons employees are now casting the spotlight on other companies in the portfolio of Endeavour Capital, the grocer’s majority owner.

New Seasons Workers United, the group of dissatisfied employees who have pushed a unionization effort since last fall, has teamed up with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 to launch a website looking at some of the “questionable business practices” of other companies Endeavour has invested in over the years. Endeavour took a majority stake in New Seasons in 2009.

A release from the workers claims that staffing levels have been cut at New Seasons since Endeavour, led by managing director Stephen Babson, bought its stake and that the grocery’s halted expansion plans and recent leadership shakeup have created turmoil at the company. That, the release noted, has led to “increased attention on the firm that owns the grocery chain.”

“The private equity firm Endeavour Capital portrays itself as socially responsible and attracts investors based on that approach,” Will Layng, executive director of Portland Jobs With Justice, said in the release.

“Unfortunately, its investments paint a different picture. It’s important that all stakeholders understand that Endeavour has a track record (of) investing in companies that have been charged with serious labor violations, profited from the discriminatory cash bail system, and contributed to air pollution and oil extraction from sensitive areas.”

Among the Endeavour-backed companies called out in the release and on the new website are:

  • ESCO Corp., a Portland-based manufacturer of mining eqiupment that was dinged for air pollution issues several years ago

  • Aladdin Bail Bonding

  • Genesis Financial Solutions, which originated students loans for the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges

  • Zoom+Care, the Portland health clinic chain that came to legal fisticuffs with Endeavour last year after the private equity firm went to court seeking a receiver for Zoom Management Inc.

In addition to launching the new website, the backers of the unionization effort plan to stage a protest outside of the Multnomah Athletic Club today at 3 p.m.during the Association for Corporate Growth Competition. Babson is scheduled to give the keynote address at the ACG’s event.

In a written response to the Business Journal, Babson said the firm has been investing in Pacific Northwest companies for 25 years and defended those singled out by the union backers.

His statement reads:

“Endeavour Capital began a quarter century ago as a patient partner with Pacific Northwest companies with a long-term vision, growth potential and sustainable business values.

“Endeavour has made investments in around 70 companies and its current portfolio includes 26 companies. Its major investors include the public employee pension funds of Oregon, Washington and Idaho, as well as union pension funds and college endowment funds.

“ESCO has a 100-year history in Portland as a manufacturing leader paying family-wage jobs. Aladdin is a respected bail bond provider headquartered in California. Genesis Financial Solutions works with retail partners to provide financing for customer purchases. These are just three of Endeavour’s investment partners and reflect Endeavour’s commitment to a diversified investment portfolio, which includes companies with unionized workforces.”



Support Workers—Sign the Pledge to Boycott Burgerville!

Why Boycott Burgerville?

​For almost two years now workers at Burgerville have been fighting for union recognition. The company has responded to BVWU demands by refusing to negotiate and firing union members.

BVWU is one of the only fast food workers unions in the USA, but Burgerville workers will not have a livable wage, decent healthcare, childcare, or subsidized transportation until the company formally recognizes the union and agrees to negotiate. Workers are asking the Pacific Northwest to join with them in solidarity and pledge to boycott Burgerville until the company signs a contract with the union!

Click Here​ to sign the Boycott Pledge today!
Click Here​ to read the recent NW Labor Press article about BVWU and the boycott.
Click Here to share this action on social media and help spread the word!

An injury to one is an injury to all. Solidarity forever!


16th Annual Faith Labor Breakfast

You are invited to gather with workers and local faith leaders as we break bread and share powerful stories, celebrate victories, and grow in our confidence to support justice and dignity for all workers. Join us in reclaiming moral power!

Our 16th Annual Faith-Labor Breakfast, “Reclaiming Moral Power,” will be held on Tuesday February 20th, 7:15-9am at St Andrew Catholic Church, 806 NE Alberta St.

Click Here to get your tickets to the breakfast today!


Kshama Sawant is a warrior for the working class


Portland Construction Contractors: equal pay for equal work, please

Workers’ rights hearing highlights exploitation of immigrant carpenters with testimonials 

Over the past five years, the State of Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has received 148 prevailing-wage complaints and claims worth $1.12 million in Multnomah County alone, according to Portland Jobs with Justice.

In late July, Portland Jobs with Justice hosted a Workers’ Rights Board hearing to discuss wage theft and other exploitation experiences by Portland Latinos and immigrant wood framer carpenters.

Portland Jobs With Justice is a coalition of over 100 labor unions, community, faith and student organizations that fight for economic, racial, gender and immigrant justice. The Workers’ Rights Board is a project of Portland Jobs with Justice, and helps build support in the community for workers seeking to improve their working conditions.


Workers’ Rights Board Hearing Highlights the Exploitation of Immigrant Carpenters in Portland-Area Construction Industry

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A Workers’ Rights Board Hearing on July 27, 2017 highlighted wage theft and other exploitation experienced by immigrant wood framer carpenters in Portland’s construction industry. Over 100 people came out to the hearing, hosted by Portland Jobs with Justice and the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, to hear testimony from wage theft experts, carpenters, and labor leaders about the poor working conditions immigrant carpenters face and what can be done about it.

“One of the most difficult things was to get paid, especially when construction slowed down,” says Antonio Pulido through an interpreter to a panel of four Workers’ Rights Board members that included Mary King, Economics Professor Emerita, PSU; Oregon House Representative Diego Hernandez; Father Jack Mosbrucker, retired priest from St. Therese Catholic Church; and community organizer Ranfis Villatoro.

Immigrant wood framers talk about wage theft and lack of safety in Portland’s construction industry.

Workers not being paid what they are owed seems to be a serious problem in the Portland area. Over the past five years BOLI has received 148 prevailing-wage complaints and claims worth $1.12 million in Multnomah County alone, and the problem is particularly acute among immigrant workers where language barriers often prevent them from fully understanding the terms of their employment, and who employers feel they can more easily take advantage of.

The panel and the audience heard about not getting paid for overtime and being shorted on paychecks, safety hazards, and lack of adequate training. They also learned from Ben Basom, an organizer with Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, about how Community Benefits Agreements are “maybe the best way to ensure immigrant workers, and indeed all workers, are treated fairly on these big construction projects that are funded in part by the City of Portland and Prosper Portland.”

After an hour and half of testimony and questions the Workers’ Rights Board panel came back with a series of recommendations that include requiring all construction projects in Portland and Multnomah County that use any public funding to operate with a Community Benefits Agreement ensuring that women, people of color, and other marginalized groups will be well represented among employees and contractors.

“Pilot efforts on two Portland Water Bureau construction projects, working with a modified version of the City’s 2012 Community Benefits Agreement, achieved exceptional levels of participation of women and people of color as apprentices, skilled workers and contractors.  The key was dedicated funding – 1% of ‘hard construction costs’ – for compliance, training, recruitment and technical assistance. Providing support for contractors and demanding accountability are both absolutely critical, and best accomplished with the involvement of community organizations, including the unions,” said Mary King, Economics Professor Emerita, PSU and Chair of the Workers Rights Board panel. “Without support, proper oversight and consequences for failing to meet the standards of a Community Benefits Agreement, nothing changes despite decades of effort.”

The Workers’ Rights Board intends to take the recommendations to city and county leaders.

The full text of the recommendations made by the Workers’ Rights Board can be viewed at: https://portlandjobswithjustice.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/2017-workers-rights-board-recommendations.pdf

Results of Community Benefits Agreement Pilot Projects can be viewed at: https://portlandjobswithjustice.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/pilot_cba_results.pdf

Video of worker stories: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWBRTrVpxUk

Portland Jobs With Justice is a coalition of over 100 labor unions, community, faith, and student organizations that fight for economic, racial, gender, and immigrant justice.

The Workers’ Rights Board, a project of Portland Jobs with Justice, has been convened to help build support in the community for workers seeking to improve their working conditions.


Summer Solidarity Celebration to Welcome Will Layng, new Portland Jobs with Justice Executive Director!

Join Portland Jobs with Justice on June 23rd, 7pm at Ecotrust in downtown Portland for our Summer Solidarity Celebration, and meet our new Executive Director, Will Layng! There will be free food, cash bar, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, dancing, and music by DJ Infinityface. You don’t want to miss out so get your tickets now!​ $20 pre-sale, $25 at the door.

Click Here to Register for the Summer Solidarity Celebration!

There has been a lot of beautiful and much needed solidarity going around since last year’s election of an administration that poses a real and serious threat to our communities.

Solidarity and showing up for other people’s struggles is the foundation of JwJ, and we believe that the upsurge in solidarity we’ve seen recently is something worth celebrating. Building a movement to strengthen and defend our community against reactionary forces is long and hard work, and we all need to be sure we are taking time to relax, replenish, and have some fun so we can continue to be effective in our work. So let’s celebrate!

Mark your calendars for the Summer Solidarity Celebration we are throwing to celebrate the recent upsurge in solidarity action we have witnessed in Portland since the 2016 election, and to welcome our new Executive Director! The Celebration will take place the evening of June 23rd from 7-9pm at the Ecotrust building in downtown Portland.

Click Here to Register for the Summer Solidarity Celebration!

Super Solidarity Sponsors
Solidarity Sponsors
PSU-AAUP, ILWU Oregon Area District Council, ILWU Local 8, Portland Association of Teachers, Right 2 Survive, Teamsters Local 117, and Oregon Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.



Layng to lead Portland Jobs with Justice

(originally published by the Northwest Labor Press)

Will Layng

Portland Jobs with Justice has hired Will Layng as its new executive director. Layng, who’s currently organizing director for the property services division of Service Employees Local 49, begins the new position June 1. He succeeds D Pei Wu, who stepped down April 30.

Portland Jobs with Justice is a non-profit worker justice coalition made up of over 100 faith, labor, and community organizations.

Layng, a native of Atlanta, was active with United Students Against Sweatshops at University of Georgia, and after graduation, went to work organizing janitors for SEIU Local 82 in Washington, D.C. He’s bilingual in Spanish and English. Since 2004, he’s been at Local 49, where he helped unionize 500 security guards under a new master labor agreement, as part of a global campaign. He also helped win a union for airport service workers and for janitors at Intel. He has served on the Jobs with Justice board for the last four years. In his free time, Layng is the frontman for roots rock band Will Layng & The Ribs.

Portland Jobs with Justice is throwing a welcome party and Summer Solidarity Celebration June 23, at 7 p.m. at the Ecotrust building in Northwest Portland. Visit http://bit.ly/2qjZU7M for tickets and details.


Announcing Executive Transition

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce my transition out of the role of Executive Director of Portland Jobs with Justice.

As I prepare to leave my role as Executive Director and reflect on our accomplishments, I am touched, humbled and so very grateful to have been a part of Portland Jobs with Justice and the National Jobs with Justice network. Portland JwJ is a progressive grassroots organization that has always pushed the envelope in shifting social paradigms to advocate and take action for the rights of those left out of the benefits and promise of economic justice and full social inclusion.

Over the past two years, together with our community, we have won big for working people in Oregon with the Fight for $15, the successful fight to Stop the TPP, and working with our city to divest from socially irresponsible financial institutions like Wells Fargo. We have mobilized supporters to nearly one hundred actions a year, and leverage thousands of volunteer hours annually in support of faith, labor, community, youth, and student organizations. In the past two years our coalition has grown by dozens of organizations and pledgers. Our organization is financially stronger than it has been ever before, and our financial and CRM systems are in the process of being updated to meet the demands and opportunities of organizing in 21st century.

We have stopped deportations, and trained hundreds of students and new organizers and activists in nonviolent action, de-escalation and safety, creative intervention, power analysis, and the benefits of being organized at work. Our solidarity squad and the work we do with the Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition is setting a model for the entire Jobs with Justice national network for how to keep all our communities safe in this period.

I am so proud of our new work centering racial justice and gender justice at the intersections with workers rights and economic justice. Portlanders are positioned at the leading edge of community and labor intersections with our work advancing racial justice and Black Lives Matter in bargaining for the common good with our labor union partners. Similarly, our new collaboration with enlace, Q Center, and Interfaith Worker Justice to train working people usually not seen as the capable and brilliant leaders they are – people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and young workers – in their rights at work, workers safety and health, and organizing and leadership development is groundbreaking and sorely needed in our movement ecosystem.

Last but not least, Portland Jobs with Justice has an impressive and experienced Board that is well-positioned to shepherd Portland JwJ during these tumultuous times throughout the nation.  As well, our dedicated and talented staff and community are committed to support the grassroots organizing and leadership development of low-wage working people, people of color, queer and trans people, women, and youth for the leadership that we need.

Once more, I thank all of you who have supported me during my tenure at Portland Jobs with Justice. We have shared many amazing, sometimes challenging, but always heartwarming, and wonderful times.  I am looking forward to my new role as a supporter of Portland JwJ, and upholding and sustaining my commitment to the powerful, extraordinary, and exemplary work of people of color, LGBTQ people, women, trans, and gender nonconforming people, and youth.  I will continue in my role as Executive Director while the Board Hiring Committee works on finding our next Executive Director.  I will then move into a support and resource role during the new Executive Director’s first weeks to ensure the organization’s continuity and stability during this important transition.

As the search begins for a new Executive Director, I hope you will help us find the right candidate to take Portland Jobs with Justice’s work to the next level. If you have any ideas or questions about the job announcement, please contact our Personnel Committee at jobs@jwjpdx.org. See the full job announcement here.

From the bottom of my heart, my sincere gratitude to all of you, and I hope you will join me in strengthening our commitment and support to Portland Jobs with Justice.   

In solidarity,

D Pei Wu, PhD.


Video by The Oregonian from the Rally and March for a United Front Against the Trump Agenda organized by Portland Jobs with Justice.