News briefs

Eastern Oregon U. faculty votes for AFT-Oregon local

LA GRANDE - Faculty and librarians at Eastern Oregon University (EOU) voted overwhelmingly to join the Associated Academic Professionals (AAP), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Oregon. Results included 75 votes for AAP and 37 left unmarked. In the two-part higher education ballot, the count for representation was 59 "yes" votes and 53 "no" votes. Mail ballots were counted Feb. 11 by the Employment Relations Board (ERB). There are 130 members in the bargaining unit.

"I'm elated about the results," said Alex Steenstra, EOU associate professor of economics, and an AAP activist. "We worked hard to get to this point, and look forward to getting on with the business of the union," he said. Brett Nair, a field representative for AFT-Oregon, said that with the election behind them, the union will now concentrate on building a strong voice for faculty at Eastern Oregon University.

"With many challenges ahead of us posed by the state fiscal crisis, an equal partnership between Eastern faculty and administrators is the best opportunity to work together to preserve quality and accessible education for EOU students," Nair said.

EOU has 10 days to file any objections to the election procedures. If none are received by Feb. 21, the ERB will certify the election on Feb. 24.

AAP joins 18 other locals in AFT-Oregon, AFL-CIO, representing approximately 10,000 education and health professionals in Oregon.

Valentine's Day solidarity for nurses

At a Feb. 12 rally in front of the entrance to Providence Health Systems Northeast Portland headquarters, Verna Porter of the Columbia River Longshore Pensioners signs a "Valentine message" calling on Providence CEO Russ Danielson to "have a heart." Nurses at Providence Milwaukie Hospital joined Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals over a year ago and still are without a first contract. Over 100 nurses and supporters took part in the noisy, high-spirited rally just before the evening rush hour. They heard a message of support from four visiting nurses from a Providence hospital in Burbank, Calif., who have their own battle with the system: Nurses there voted for the union 277-244 last September, but the hospital has withheld recognition from the union, filing objections to union conduct in the campaign that National Labor Relations Board investigators found "frivolous." Toward the end of the rally, a delegation of Catholic priests and other supporters made their way into the headquarters lobby, where they were told Danielson was on vacation. A health systems manager promised Danielson would be given the Valentine message, along with a report from the Workers' Rights Board hearing, when he returned.

Kulongoski names former OEA president Sager a top adviser

SALEM - James Sager, former president of the Portland Association of Teachers and the Oregon Education Association (OEA), has been named senior adviser on education by Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Sager is a former elementary school teacher who left the OEA in 2001 to run for Multnomah County commissioner. After losing that election he was hired as principal of Riverdale Grade School.

His job starts March 1.

Portlander named world's best floor coverer

David Rowdon, vice president of Portland-based Floor Coverers Local 1236, captured first place at the World Floor Covering Association Surfaces Trade Show Jan. 28-31 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. A runner-up in the contest the last two years, Rowdon, 33, bested nine competitors from across the nation who reached the finals by winning regional competitions against other journey-level floor coverers. The contest includes a written test, a hands-on repair project and detailed work orders to complete a sheet vinyl floor installation. Rowdon received $1,000 along with tools and supplies donated by industry manufacturers. Rowdon is a 14-year member of Local 1236 and works for Studers Floor Covering in Vancouver, Wash.

February 21, 2003 issue

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