News briefs

Governor names Nesbitt to state education panel

Governor Ted Kulongoski has appointed Tim Nesbitt, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, to the State Board of Higher Education. The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Kulongoski is shaking up the board, bringing in new members to develop his plan for postsecondary education. He started by appointing former Governor Neil Goldschmidt to serve as chair. Four board members — Jim Lussier, Leslie Lehmann, Kerry Barnett and Phyllis Wustenberg — tendered their resignations after meeting with the governor.

“A viable and healthy postsecondary education system is critical to grow the economy, create jobs and allow Oregon to become a competitive player in the global marketplace,” Kulongoski said.

Noting that the state has been disinvesting in postsecondary education for too long, the governor said he intends to create a new era of economic vitality in Oregon by reinvesting the state in access to a quality postsecondary education.

“I want to renew Oregon’s social compact with its citizens by providing a postsecondary educational opportunity to all its citizens and growth to the economy through investment in education,” he said.

The 11-member board appoints a chancellor (the chief executive officer) of the Oregon University System. There are seven colleges and universities in the system — including the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, Portland State University, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University and Oregon Health & Science University.


Douglas County Labor Council ceases operation

ROSEBURG — Citing a loss in affiliates due primarily to layoffs, the Douglas County Central Labor Council has dissolved.

In a letter to council President John Hilkey, national AFL-CIO President John Sweeney instructed the leadership to forward all financial assets to the Southern Oregon Central Labor Council in Central Point.

Jim Alexander, a member of the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of Medford Postal Workers Local 342, said the wood products industry in the county has lost more than 400 jobs this year.

Disaffiliation of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners nationally from the AFL-CIO was cited as another reason for the council’s dissolvement. Carpenters of the Western Council of Industrial Workers represent many mills in the county.

“There is a lot of labor history in Douglas County and Roseburg,” Alexander said. “There are still union activists who exist there. I hope you don’t forget them.”

The Southern Oregon Labor Council now encompasses Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties.


AFSCME asks unions that contribute to Kerr Center to stress union ties

Does your local or union donate money or goods to the private, non-profit Albertina Kerr Centers?

Several Albertina Kerr group homes have employees who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Workers’ wage steps at facilities in Salem and Eugene — represented by AFSCME Locals 3213 and 3214 — have been frozen since July.

These locals are going into negotiations this month and AFSCME is asking unions that contribute to Albertina Kerr Centers to make sure that funds collected are also being used to support group homes that have union contracts.

Union locals are asked to contact Eileen O’Connell at AFSCME at 1-800-521-5954 so that contributing locals can present a united message.

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