Oregon ballot initiative filed to require gas pump attendants after state legislature repealed ban on self-serve gas in August

Two versions of an initiative to require gas pump attendants in Oregon were filed in October and November. United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 filed the initiated state statutes. To qualify for the 2024 ballot, proponents need to collect 117,173 valid signatures by July 5, 2024.

Michael Selvaggio, political director for UFCW Local 555, said, “Getting self-serve gas hasn’t helped anyone. It has, however, put people out of work, made [getting gas] less accessible and made stations more dangerous. The only pro side is if you’re an oil company.”

Oregon ended its ban on self-serve gas in August 2023 after 72 years of requiring gas attendants to pump for motorists. The repeal was passed in the Senate with a 16-9 vote and in the House by 47-10 before being signed by Gov. Tina Kotek (D). New Jersey is now the only state to require gas pump attendants.

Oregon’s ban on self-serve gas was first passed in 1951. The original ban did allow exceptions for rural communities. The proposed initiative would not authorize the same exception. The initiative would allow motorcyclists to fuel up on their own as long as an attendant hands the nozzle to them.

Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis (R-15), a sponsor of the self-serve gas bill, said, “This appears to be yet another failed power grab by UFCW leadership and waste of hard earned worker dues.”

As of Nov. 30, 52 ballot initiatives have been filed in Oregon for the 2024 ballot. Between 1985 and 2022, Oregon voters decided on 279 ballot measures—approving 135 (48.39%) and defeating 144 (51.61%).

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