Employees at Harry’s Mother & Streetlight/Porchlight, nonprofit youth shelters run by Janus Youth Programs, are holding a demonstration to protect their rights. Employees, along with members of the Portland branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the union representing these two programs will be holding an informational picket outside of Janus Youth Programs’ administrative offices, at 707 NE Couch, starting Monday, February 7th, from 9 to 11am. The picket will continue each business day until demands are met.
“We’re requesting that Janus focus their budget on improving services for youth rather than using those resources to fight their workers,” states Ciara Doyle, a member of the bargaining team. For the past 10 years, employees have had a contract with Janus Youth Programs providing them a peer review panel. This panel consists of 2 supervisors and 3 employees who democratically review contested employee firings. Janus is attempting to replace the peer review panel with mandatory arbitration. This outside arbitration process could easily cost Janus and its employees $1500 per session while the current panel costs virtually nothing. Without the financial resources, employees cannot participate as equals in an arbitration process.
Janus is withholding a wage raise until its workers agree to mandatory arbitration. “Janus is forcing its workers to choose between a fair contract and a living wage — we deserve both,” says Laura Taylor, an employee at Harry’s Mother.
Harry’s Mother and Streetlight/Porchlight offer many services to youth and families in crisis. Harry’s Mother provides shelter to runaway and at-risk youth. It also hosts the Reception Center, an alternative to juvenile detention. Streetlight/Porchlight provides short-term and emergency housing for youth experiencing homelessness.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a volunteer-run union open to all workers. The Portland branch of the IWW represents workers at three local non-profit programs.