News briefs

Union-Industries Show coming to Portland April 29-May 2, 2005

The popular AFL-CIO Union-Industries Show, which features and promotes union-made American products and union services, will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland April 29 to May 2, 2005.

The last time the show was in Portland was 1992, when more than 200,000 people attended.

The Union-Industries Show is free to the public and presents demonstrations and exhibits of modern technology, aerospace science, culinary skills, energy conservation, personal health, the theatrical arts, and special skills in industries such as textiles, printing, glassblowing, construction and much more. Exhibitors include the AFL-CIO national and international unions, corporations whose products and services are produced by union workers, plus government agencies, and community service organizations.

"The local and state labor organizations worked hard to make this happen, as did the people at the Portland Visitors Association," said Matt Bates, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department, organizers of the annual event. "With everyone already working together like this, the 2005 Union-Industries Show should be a spectacular success."

Bates said the Oregon Convention Center is well-equipped to handle the show, which covers and area the equivalent to five football fields. "There aren't many convention centers in the country that can handle the show," he told the Northwest Labor Press. "The facilities are completely modern and efficient, thanks to the new construction and renovations. On top of that, the center is an architectural beauty of the first order. The people of Portland can be very proud of what they've built."

Anti-war groups to take part in peace rally, job actions

A new group called U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) is calling on all unions and trade unionists who are opposed to war in Iraq to engage in workplace-based anti-war activities on Wednesday, March 12, and to attend a national "Peace Rally" scheduled for Saturday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

In Portland, the rally will be held at Waterfront Park.

On March 1, Portland Labor for Peace and Justice held a forum for union leaders and members seeking information on how a war with Iraq would affect working people. About 40 people attended. From that forum, the group made plans go take part in the national Peace Rally.

Members of Portland Labor for Peace and Justice will gather at 1:30 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square and feed into the larger rally at Waterfront Park. The group asks participants to wear union shirts and bring their union banners. For more information, contact Peter Parks at 503-735-3802.

U.S. Labor Against the War was founded Jan. 11 in Chicago at a national conference of unions opposed to a war in Iraq. So far, more than 200 labor bodies have adopted resolutions opposing military action in Iraq.

Providence Milwaukie Hospital put on Unfair List

Providence Milwaukie Hospital has been placed on the Unfair/Do Not Patronize List of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council. The request was made by the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Local 5017.

More than a year after voting 3-to-1 to join the union, 110 registered nurses at Providence Milwaukie Hospital are still without a first union contract.

Sticking points in negotiations are the hospital's refusal of agency shop language, an effective voice on the job, acceptable wages and benefits, and healthy nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.

"We're tiny pickings in the Providence system," said operating room nurse Cecilia Fowler.

"They're really lording their power over us. They try to talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk."

Labor rallies in Hermiston

In what was billed as the largest-ever union rally in Hermiston, Oregon, newly organized hospital workers were joined March 1 by scores of unionists from around the state. About 240 workers at Good Shepherd Hospital who voted to join American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) last August are still trying to win a first contract. The rally was intended to raise the profile of their campaign. "We want some respect and we want some compassion from the administration," said Good Shepherd nurse and local vice president Paula Ylarraz. Union membership tends to be rarer east of the Oregon Cascades, so AFSCME and other unions are taking seriously the opportunity to organize there. Several other unions also won an organizing campaign last year in Hermiston, with contractors destroying the Army's chemical weapons stockpiles at the Umatilla Chemical Depot. "As a proportion of the workforce, there's no greater organizing going on in any other community in Oregon," AFL-CIO President Tim Nesbitt told picketers. To show support for the new union members, the Oregon AFL-CIO and AFSCME Council 75 each scheduled statewide leadership meetings in Hermiston to coincide with the March 1 rally. The AFL-CIO visit was big news in Hermiston, population 13,000, and made the front page of the Hermiston Herald.

UFCW Local 555 joins Lebanon group fighting Wal-Mart

LEBANON - Area residents and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 have teamed up to try to stop anti-union Wal-Mart from invading the city.

The group collected enough signatures to place an initiative petition on the May 20 ballot seeking a city charter amendment that would require voter approval of all future annexations in the city limits.

Wal-Mart is trying to annex land needed for a proposed 188,000-square-foot "big box" store. A drive-in theater now occupies the land.

The group needed signatures from 15 percent of registered voters in Lebanon to qualify for the ballot.

March 7, 2003 issue

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