Gardner gets early support from labor groups in race for labor commissioner

State Representative and union member Dan Gardner has received an early recommendation for endorsement from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council in his campaign to become the next commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Gardner, a member of Portland Electrical Workers Local 48, officially announced his campaign plans at the council's Labor Day picnic Sept. 3 at Oaks Park. He had formed an exploratory committee several months ago and had made it known early his interest in the post.

Gardner, a Democrat, has received endorsements from Machinists District Lodge 24, the District Council of Laborers, Electrical Workers Local 48 and the United Transportation Union.

Incumbent Labor Commissioner Jack Roberts of Eugene is not seeking re-election, and instead is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

Gardner received NOLC's support and a $500 campaign contribution at an Executive Board meeting Aug. 27. Because it is a statewide race, the central labor council will make an official request for endorsement at the annual convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO Sept. 9-11 in Seaside.

"I think it's high time we have someone running the apprenticeship training system who has been through it; someone looking after the Wage and Hour Division who has worked for an hourly wage, and someone who understands what Davis-Bacon is and how it works," Gardner told the Executive Board.

Gardner's only opponent thus far in the non-partisan race is Lane County Commissioner Peter Sorenson of Eugene. The attorney and former Democratic state legislator has been endorsed by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757.

The labor commissioner is chief executive of the Bureau of Labor and Industries and serves as chair of the State Apprenticeship and Training Council and executive secretary of the Wage and Hour Commission. The commissioner enforces state laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and administers state laws relating to wages, hours of employment, basic working conditions, and prevailing wage rates, to name a few.

The race could end in the May 2002 primary if one person receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

September 7, 2001 issue

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