News briefs

Letter Carriers collect 1.5 million pounds of food

The final pallets, boxes and bags have been weighed, and the results are in: Residents in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., donated nearly 1.5 million pounds of food in the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union Food Drive. Food collected during the one-day drive May 11 is being distributed in the communities where it was donated.

The 1,488,386 pounds of food donated represents an increase of 7,921 pounds over the previous year. It converts to an estimated 992,257 meals, according to the Oregon Food Bank.

Nearly 800,000 pounds of food were donated in the Portland metropolitan area, including Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Clark (Washington) counties.

"We are so pleased that, given Oregon's current economic situation, so many residents donated highly nutritious food during the Letter Carriers food drive," said Rachel Bristol, Oregon Food Bank's executive director.

Oregon Food Bank is the hub of a statewide network of hunger relief agencies. It collects and distributes food to food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Oregon and Clark County, including the Carpenters Food Bank.

Last year, these agencies provided emergency food assistance to one in six Oregonians, including nearly 267,000 children.

Labor unions assisted in the food drive with financial donations that provided more than 1 million bags that residents could use to fill with food. The bags were delivered to homes the week of the food drive.

Oregon AFL-CIO meets in Corvallis on June 10-11

SALEM - The 47th annual convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO will be held at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center at Oregon State University June 10-11. Delegates will act on endorsements of candidates and ballot measures for the November general election and launch an ambitious program for member education and mobilization for the remainder of this election year.

It will also be the first gathering under the "New Alliance," so more unions will be participating. With the New Alliance comes an expansion of the Executive Board and Committee on Political Education. Installation of those officers will take place at an AFL-CIO Executive Board meeting Sunday, June 9, at the Alumni Center.

That evening the state labor federation will host a "Welcome Party" at nearby Benton County Fairgrounds starting at 5:30 p.m. The Fairgrounds also will be the location of a Monday, June 10, "Labor's Own" dinner and fundraiser for union members who are running for political office. Tickets are $60. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m.

The popular Union Label Show will be held June 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Alumni Center. The Union Label Committee is seeking union-made gifts and cash donations for the event.

For more information on how to donate, call 503-224-3169 or from Salem call 503-585-6320.

AFT's Debbi Covert receives national award for her work

WASHINGTON D.C. - Debbi Covert, president of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon (AFT-Oregon), was named the 2002 Albert Shanker PSRP Pioneer Award recipient.

AFT made the presentation at the national conference of its Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel (PSRP) Division.

The award, for outstanding service, includes a cash stipend to be divided by Covert, and her worksite, Portland Community College (PCC). "It was a complete surprise," she said. "To be recognized as a union leader at that level is pretty awesome."

Covert is a longtime member and an officer of AFT Local 3922, PCC Federation of Classified Employees. She is the first PSRP elected to serve as an AFT state federation president. "The Pioneer Award highlights a long history of dedication to her work and her union," said AFT-Oregon Executive Director Richard Schwarz.

The award is presented each year to a person who has demonstrated leadership skills in the union, on the job and in the community. It is named after a former president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Alaska minimum wage heads north ... to $7.25 an hour

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Legislature voted to increase the state's minimum wage from $5.65 per hour to $7.15 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2003, and to index future increases to the Anchorage consumer price index beginning Sept. 30, 2004.

A petition drive by the Alaska AFL-CIO and allied groups last year gathered enough signatures for the initiative to be certified for the November ballot. Now that the Legislature has passed a new law, Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer will determine if the ballot measure is necessary.

June 7, 2002 issue

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