SALEM, Ore. — If one of Oregon's largest labor unions has its way, drivers' ability to pump their own gas in the state will be short-lived.
UFCW Local 555, which represents workers in the grocery, retail, manufacturing and healthcare industries, is attempting to advance a ballot measure that would re-ban self-service gas.
If passed, the proposed ballot measure would ban all self-serve gas in Oregon, including rural counties with populations of 40,000 or less, which were allowed to offer self-serve gas from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting in 2016. It would provide exceptions for some noncommercial customers such as firefighters, reported The Oregonian.
The union sees no current benefit to anyone who isn't a gas station owner, according to UFCW Local 555 Political Director Mike Selvaggio.
"It doesn't do anything good for Oregonians unless you're a gas station owner or have a stake in a large oil company," Selvaggio said. "It makes gas stations more dangerous and less accessible to people with accessibility issues."
Oregon lifted the self-service ban as of Aug. 4, when Governor Tina Kotek signed a bill authorizing gas stations to provide self-service fuel pumps alongside attendant-pumped fuel. The bill required gas stations to staff at least half of their pumps for drivers who can't or don't want to pump their own gas, and fuel companies stated that they would not lay off employees due to existing worker shortages.
However, according to Selvaggio, the union has seen gas stations eliminated, though some of those workers were then moved to work inside stores, according to the news outlet.
To get the anti-self-service measure on the November 2024 ballot, UFCW Local 555 must collect 112,000 signatures. In the meantime, New Jersey remains the only state that does not allow drivers to pump their own gas.