Richards elected to top post at OPEIU Local 11

Mike Richards has been elected executive secretary-treasurer of Portland-based Office and Professional Employees Local 11. He defeated five other candidates in a special mail ballot election. Votes were counted July 15.

Richards, a business representative of the union for 22 years, received 281 votes. Others vying for the union’s top post were Darren Wertz (52 votes), Matt Kozlowksi (51 votes), Richard Brown (48 votes), Ben Stuva (48 votes) and Kathy Beebe (45 votes).

Richards will be installed Tuesday, Aug. 16, by International President Michael Goodwin. The union meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Sheet Metal Workers Local 16’s Training Center at 2379 NE 178th Ave., Portland.

Kathleen Kinnick has been serving as interim executive secretary-treasurer of Local 11 following the departure of Debbie Sluyter.

Sluyter lost her bid for re-election to a second term in April. She challenged the eligibility of her opponent, John Sanks, and the union’s Election Committee ruled him to be ineligible. Local 11’s Executive Board then voted by a narrow margin to declare Sluyter the winner. That ruling was appealed by a group of union members.

Instead of going through more appeals and possibly another election, Sluyter decided not to accept the Executive Board’s decision declaring her the winner.

The international union then appointed Kinnick interim executive secretary-treasurer to oversee a new election.

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