News briefs

Workers picket OPB

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) employees picketed their Portland office July 22 to protest employer demands for takebacks in health and pension coverage. A group of about 40 employees at the public television and radio network — represented by Service Employees Local 503 — have been working under an extension since their previous contract expired June 30. The union has agreed to a wage freeze but won’t accept an increase in employee health care premiums that would cost $420 per month out of pocket. OPB also proposes to cut by 70 percent its pension contributions. Union employees make between $25,000 to $40,00 a year, while CEO Maynard Orme makes $210,000.

Roofers re-elect Michael Thompson business manager

Michael Thompson has been re-elected to a fourth term as business manager of Portland-based Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Local 49. He defeated Darrell Hopkins Jr. and Richard Younce in a three-person race.

Russ Garnet edged out Darrell Hopkins Sr. by two votes for president, while Paul Corbin and William Havens tied in their race for warden. A runoff is scheduled for Aug. 14.

Ray Carpenter defeated Burt Martin in a race for vice president and Howard Nave was elected recording secretary over Russ Nicolai.

Elected to the union’s Executive Board in a 14-person race were the top five vote-getters: Carpenter, Garrett, Hopkins Sr., Nave and Nicolai. Delegates elected to the national convention were Carpenter, Garrett, Hopkins Sr., and Nave. Fourteen candidates vied for the convention seats.

All terms are for three-years.

Carlson to head Iron Workers Local 29

Jeff Carlson has been appointed business manager of Portland-based Iron Workers Local 29. He will fill the unexpired term of Paddy Barry, who resigned last month.

Carlson, 48, has been a business representative of Local 29 for the past seven years and a lobbyist for the union since 1999. He will serve as business manager until December 2005, when the post is up for election.

As per the union’s constitution, Carlson’s appointment was made by Union President Bob Clerihew.

Carlson is a second-generation Iron Worker and a member of Local 29 for nearly two dozen years. He graduated from the local’s apprenticeship program and has worked on major construction projects throughout the United States.

His brother John, nephew Mike, and son Jake, an apprentice, are all members of the union.

Carlson, of Washougal, Wash., has served on Local 29’s Examining Board and the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee.

With nearly 30 percent unemployment among union Iron Workers in Oregon, Carlson said his goal as business manager is to make sure the Legislature passes — and the governor signs — a transportation bill.

[HB 2041 passed in both chambers and was signed by the governor July 28.]

“We need that bill to help spur the economy and get some guys back to work,” said Carlson, a native Oregonian who attended Parkrose High School.

The new law raises vehicle registration fees from $30 every two years to $54, vehicle title fees from $30 to $5,5 and increases commercial truckers’ registration fees and weight-mile taxes. The increases will generate $114 million per year in new revenue and up to $2.5 billion in bond proceeds to repair and replace Oregon’s broken bridges and rutted roads. In the process, the construction work will create and sustain 4,750 jobs per year over the next 10 years.

In addition to regular union business, Carlson also will be moving the local to a new office. Earlier this year the Iron Workers Training Center and Iron Workers Shopmen’s Local 516 purchased a 10,000-square-foot building on two acres off Interstate 205 at Airport Way. The training center moved this week and the unions plan to move in September after some remodeling is completed.

The old union office at Southeast 67th and Foster Road is for sale.

Because of the economy, Carlson won’t fill his vacated business agent position. Local 29 has two other union reps, Dan Mowrey covering the Portland area and Tom Rios covering Southern Oregon.

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