The Port of Astoria and its union staff have agreed to tie their pay to the agency’s performance.
Thirteen employees at the Port, from maintenance workers to the head of security, are represented by the local chapter of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The two parties recently agreed on a new contract through June 2022.
The workers, whose payroll of $1.2 million represents 15% of the Port’s operating expenses, have historically received between 2% and 3% pay increases.
Under the new contract, wage increases will be based on a three-year rolling average of the Port’s operating gains. Employees will receive no raises for an increase of less than $99,000, 1% for up to a $199,000 increase, 2% for up to $299,000, 3% for up to $399,000, 4% for up to $499,000 and 5% for any increase greater than $500,000.
“It aligns their goals with the goals of the organization,” said Will Isom, the Port’s interim executive director. “If you’re a boots-on-the-ground guy, you have an incentive to help bring ideas forth to better the Port.”
Paul Montgomery, a maintenance worker and shop steward at the Port, said staff is putting their trust in Isom and the agency’s administration.
“We kind of all wanted to be on the ground level of something good, and show our support to our employers,” he said.
Isom’s first experience with the concept was as an analyst with the Georgia-Pacific Wauna Mill, where nonunion employees would receive raises based on financial, safety and other metrics.
The Port is in a unique situation as a government that relies mostly on operating revenue rather than property taxes.
“Most of our revenue is earned,” Isom said. “To me, incentivizing our crew to make us more profitable makes sense.”