Iron Workers' Paddy Barry steps down as business manager

Saying he’s tired and ready to “throttle back,” Paddy Barry, stepped down as business manager of Portland Iron Workers Local 29 after 11 years at the helm.

“Working for this local was one of the best educational experiences a person could have,” said Barry. “If I had to do it all over again I probably would.”

Barry, whose last day was June 20, was succeeded by union representative Jeff Carlson. The term expires in January 2005.

Throughout his career as business manager, Barry, 49, has been an outspoken advocate for the membership, even if it ruffled the feathers of his international union. Two years ago he ran unsuccessfully for general secretary of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.

Over the past decade Barry helped the local establish a market recovery program that boosted Iron Worker market share in the area from 50 percent to nearly 80 percent.

“We developed the first organizing program among Iron Workers locals West of the Mississippi,” Barry said.

Local 29 —which turned 100 in June 2001 — today has 1,250 members.

As business manager, Barry has held posts on the Oregon and Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Councils; he was a board member of the Drug-Free Workplace Program, and while in office he earned a bachelor of arts degree in labor studies from the George Meany Institute at Antioch College.

He is an avid runner who has competed in numerous Hood to Coast runs and triathlons — all while promoting labor and the Iron Workers Union.

Barry said he will travel the country and “work with the tools” over the next four years, at which time he can officially retire. He plans to leave his home in Vancouver and live on a sailboat during that time.

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