PDX Workplace Initiative

March 2016

The PDX Workplace Initiative is a program designed to enhance the worker experience at Portland International Airport while keeping PDX a great place for companies to do business.

PDX is considered one of the best airports in America, and the Initiative strives to fine tune the balance between what makes PDX exceptional for customers and what will continue to make PDX a preferred place to work and do business. The objective is to continue to provide an excellent working environment in terms of safety, security and opportunities for advance and mutual success.

Through the Initiative and collaboration with its stakeholders, Port of Portland seeks to generate and make investments in innovative new approaches to attract and retain the very best airport workers and employers. The Port strives to continue providing a PDX work environment that offers a high level of satisfaction and enhances overall quality of life.

The Process: Echoing similar activities nationwide, PDX workers and some labor organizations began asking the Port in 2014 to improve the wages and job security of airport workers. While most airport workers don’t work for the Port, but rather for other businesses, the Port began exploring possibilities, as airport workers are PDX’s greatest asset.

The process involved considering various concepts and researching what other airports were doing. Outreach activities included meetings with workers, labor organizations and PDX businesses, as well as considering testimony presented at Port Commission meetings and direction from the Port Commission itself.

While minimum wage was a topic of discussion throughout the process, the Port believes that minimum compensation levels are best set by the State of Oregon. Because the Port will implement this initiative on a contract-by-contract basis, requirements to increase minimum compensation would lead to uneven treatment. In contrast, the recent increase in the state minimum wage will help ensure even treatment. While the Port is not adopting minimum compensation in this Initiative, the Port will continue considering ways it can further enhance the worker experience, focusing on those workers with the greatest need.

The Port Commission adopted Initiative principles on April 7, 2015, which included Job Pathways, Worker Benefits and Employee-Employer Relationships. Staff was directed to determine the specifics of the Initiative as it is implemented.

Initiative Specifics and Accomplishments: Specific elements of the Initiative follow, as well as accomplishments to date (noted in italic):


Retention policy
The Initiative establishes a retention policy requiring the Port to establish a labor pool for employees at the airport.

The PDX Labor Pool was established in December 2015 as part of the Jobs@PDX website, allowing workers in good standing who are affected by an expiring contract to post their qualifications and experience for other employers to see.

Airline Service Providers

  • Successor employer replacing a large employer (>50 FTE equivalent at PDX or 250 total) must hire 80 percent of their employee needs from the qualified candidates of the departing airline service provider employer for a minimum of 60 days.

  • The Port works closely with airline service providers when there is a contractual change to ensure the names of displaced employees are provided to the new operator.


  • Employees may enter the PDX Labor Pool. Concessionaires’ hiring from the Pool is optional. Employers must interview three qualified candidates from the Pool, if available. For every individual hired from the Pool who completes six months of service with the new employer, the employer is given an incentive payment of $1,000 with $500 of that going to the employee.

  • In addition to offering incentives for new concessionaires to hire from the displaced labor pool, the Port will host job fairs for employers and employees during significant concessions transitions.


Establish a PDX Worker Benefit Work Group

  • Work with PDX employers and stakeholders to generate and make investments in innovative new approaches to attract and retain the very best airport workers.

  • In response to the feedback from stakeholder focus groups, the Port sponsors several initiatives including:
    --TriMet Monthly Pass Program where the Port buys monthly transit passes on behalf of the PDX terminal concessionaires and airline service providers and subsidizes 25 percent of the cost
    --Seasonal flu shot clinic (the first was offered in fall 2015)
    --Port sponsored safety training
    --Partnership with Portland Community College on career transition services


Employee-Employer Relationships
Contracts with the Port at PDX will require the employer to submit a specific written plan on how it will maintain a positive working relationship with its employees.

  • The plan may include any agreement the employer has with its employees, as well as programs the employer uses to maintain a positive relationship with its employees, such as compensation plans, benefit offerings, incentive programs, education and training programs, advancement opportunities, etc.
  • The plan may be made publically available.
  • The contract will allow the Port to take action, up to and including terminating the contract, in the event of the employer’s repeated, serious failures, in the discretion of the Port and as limited by applicable law, to adhere to its plan.

Chris White | Director, Community Affairs
503.415.6056 | chris.white@portofportland.com

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