Union ‘Labor-Neighbor’ walkers hit their stride

Scores of union members are volunteering nightly to go door-to-door to talk to fellow union members about the presidential election Nov. 2 and to encourage them to vote.

The “Labor-Neighbor” program has been under way for several months, but as Election Day draws closer more volunteers are showing up. Approximately 75 people hit the streets in Northeast Portland Sept. 21 and again Sept. 27.

The Sept. 21 event started at the headquarters of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 5. Volunteers — a good chunk of them members of Painters Local 10, Floor Coverers Local 1236, Asbestos Workers Local 36 and Glaziers Local 740 — were fed hamburgers and hot dogs and given brief instructions on how to deliver fliers and prepare talking points on the differences between President George W. Bush and challenger John Kerry.

On Sept. 27, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council canceled its monthly meeting held at Electrical Workers Local 48 in Northeast Portland so that delegates could walk and talk to neighbors in Northeast Portland. Delegates met at Local 48’s hall for a barbecue before hitting the streets.

Overall, union members knocked on more than 1,500 doors over the two evening walks. Since June, union volunteers have knocked on more than 35,000 doors.

“The goal of Labor-Neighbor walks is to show union members where the candidates stand on key workplace issues and to let union members know exactly what’s at stake in the November election,” said Tim Carrier, a business representative of Council 5 who coordinated the Sept. 21 walk.

Tim Nesbitt, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, says the walks are part of an ongoing effort of the union movement to keep fighting back against Republican distortions on the real state of the economy.

“We’re going to keep walking between now and Election Day,” he said. “Union members are overwhelmingly responsive to getting the truth about what Bush should have done — and hasn’t — to bring back the economy.”

Sean McGarvey, political director of the Painters and Allied Trades International Union, has been traveling to battleground states — of which Oregon is one — since June to assist in similar Labor-Neighbor walks.

“We usually don’t start into politics until after Labor Day. This year we’ve been out every night since June 26,” he said.

Looking around the crowd of volunteers, McGarvey and Carrier said people who usually don’t get involved (in politics) are out knocking on doors. “That’s how important this is,” Carrier said.

There will be more Labor-Neighbor canvasses across Oregon in October. Here is a list of days, times and locations:

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 will host a Portland area neighborhood walk from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Meet at the Labor 2004 headquarters at 214 SE 18th Ave. (corner of SE 18th & Ash), Portland.

Labor-Neighbor walks will cover the Portland area Oct. 7 and Oct. 10-14, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Walkers will meet at the Labor 2004 headquarters at 214 SE 18th Ave. (corner of SE 18th & Ash), Portland.

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, a barbeque and canvass co-sponsored by the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council and the Northwest Oregon Labor Council will be held at the Mason Trades Building, 12812 NE Marx, Portland, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

In Clackamas County, Labor-Neighbor walks will be held nightly at 5:30 p.m. from Oct. 3-7, and Oct. 10-14, starting at the hall of Operating Engineers Local 701, 555 E. First St., Gladstone.

An Albany walk is slated for Monday, Oct. 4, meeting at 6 p.m. at the hall of Steelworkers Local 6163, 1400 Old Salem Ave.

Salem walks will be held Monday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 10, and on Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Walkers will meet at the Oregon AFL-CIO headquarters, 2110 State St.

Plumbers and Fitters Local 290 will hold a special canvass day on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to cover the Tualatin area. The union hall is located at 20210 SW Teton Ave., Tualatin.

Eugene/Springfield walks will be held Monday, Oct. 11, through Thursday, Oct. 14, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Walkers will meet at the Lane County Labor 2004 headquarters at 1116 South A St. (Woodworkers Hall on 11th & South A St.), Springfield.

A Labor-Neighbor walk covering Coos Bay will be held Wednesday, Oct. 6. Walkers should meet at the Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 12 hall, 2064 Sheridan Ave., at 5 p.m.

Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.