Employment Programs

An overview of the Joint Accord and Labor Relations Team.

NW Natural has a long and rich tradition of community involvement. For more than 150 years the company has been committed to the growth and prosperity of the communities it serves. And that tradition is evident in our work processes, policies and through the company’s mission and values.

Joint Accord

Just over half of NW Natural’s 1,100 employees are represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local 11. NW Natural and OPEIU, Local 11 adopted a partnership approach to their collective bargaining. Under the partnership structure, the parties refer to their collective bargaining agreement as the Joint Accord.

Our sixth Joint Accord was negotiated in 2014. As with its predecessors, this Joint Accord promotes win/win solutions that result in "doing what’s right" for the customers, the employees, and the company. The Joint Accord provides for guaranteed employment security for its bargaining employees while enabling employees to participate in work redesign projects. 

Labor Relations Team

The Labor Relations Team (LRT) was created in 1988 to support the partnership. Its mission is to make labor relations at
NW Natural Gas Company a participative effort. They work toward the dissemination of information necessary to make decisions, manage change, and move decisions to the most effective level possible. They also work to develop a total commitment from each Employee to improve the working environment and support the organization's efforts to prosper and grow.

The Labor Relations Team (LRT) is recognized as a union-management partnership comprised of all union representatives, plus all supervisors and higher who have bargaining unit employees in their reporting line. The LRT's mission is to:

  • Make labor relations at NW Natural a participative effort to oversee relationships between union and management personnel.
  • Work toward the dissemination of information necessary to make decisions, manage change, and move decisions to the most effective level possible.
  • Develop a total commitment from each employee to improve the working environment and support the organization’s efforts to prosper and grow.

The Joint Accord Committee (JAC) handles the regular work of the partnership. The JAC has standing partnered committees that work on a number of areas on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the Joint Accord. These committees conduct training, determine compensation, develop Joint Accord interpretations, and ensure effective communication of Joint Accord information to all managers, supervisors, and employees. Further, many projects in the organization involve both LRT and JAC members.

The partnership approach adopted by OPEIU, Local 11 and NW Natural is innovative and takes a lot of time, patience, and learning. NW Natural is committed to the sound principles of interest-based bargaining because it leads to effective outcomes, which contribute to the future success of NW Natural and its employees.

NW Natural is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.