December 1, 2006 Volume 107 Number 23

How to shop union for the holidays

Consumers will spend upwards of $60 billion for holiday gifts this year and much of that money is earmarked for apparel, computer equipment, consumer electronics and books, according to government sources and commercial polling firms. There are union-made, competitively priced sources for all of the items on the typical shopper’s wish list.

“Yes, it gets harder every day to seek out union products and services. It’s a moving target with some goods that were produced here last month bearing a ‘Made in China’ label this month,” says Charles Mercer, president of the AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department. However, he added, “It does make a difference when union families tell merchants they want to see a union label before they buy.”

Last year, the national AFL-CIO convention designated the 10 days following Thanksgiving as “Buy Union Week” as a means of harnessing the considerable buying power of union wages.

The Northwest Labor Press has compiled a union shopping guide. It is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it does include products made by members of both the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win labor federations.

Maybe the best-known union companies in Oregon are Powell’s Books, represented by International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 5; Pendleton Woolen Mills, where you can buy blankets and housewares made by members of UNITE HERE; Harley-Davidson motorcycles, made by members of the Machinists Union and United Steelworkers; and Cingular Wireless, represented by Communications Workers of America. All of those companies’ products would make great union-made or serviced holiday gifts.

There are others. Teamsters represent workers at Boyd Coffee in Northeast Portland. The Machinists Union represents workers at Gerber Legendary Blades, who make outdoor knives and multipurpose tools in Tigard.

Jackson & Perkins is a Medford-based company that grows roses, Christmas trees and other items in California, where it employs 1,400 members of United Farm Workers.

Baked goods from Oroweat, Franz, Williams, Fred Meyer Clackamas Bakery and Safeway Clackamas Bread Plant are made by members of Bakery, Confectionery Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 114.

Other union-made goodies include Hershey’s, See’s Candies, Ghirardelli, Brown & Halley, Russell Stover and Hostess products, to name a few.

Teamsters and Operating Engineers represent workers at Tillamook County Creamery, where some of the best cheese in the world is produced.

Teamsters also represent workers at Smuckers, Darigold, Pepsi Cola, Coca-Cola and Franz Bakery.

Where to buy

Fred Meyer is the only unionized department store in Oregon, with employees represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. However, not all stores are union, and even within union stores there are sometimes nonunion departments. If you want to be sure, ask a worker.

In Longview, Washington’s Old Town, Bob’s Merchandise and Bob’s Bike Shop have employees represented by Local 555. So do Farr’s True Value stores in Coos Bay and Coquille, and Bay Appliance and TV in Coos Bay.

In grocery and meat, most Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Haggens, QFC, Sherm’s and McKay’s stores employ workers represented by UFCW Local 555. Again, not all stores are union and, as in retail, not all departments are union.

In-store bakery workers are members of Bakers Local 114 at most Safeway, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, QFC, Roth’s Family Markets, Rosauer’s (Hood River), and Sherm’s Thunderbird (Roseburg).

No big-box discounter in Oregon is union, and some are anti-union, like Wal-Mart. Among discounters, Costco pays workers the best wages and salaries. Some of its warehouse workers are represented by the Teamsters Union, but none in Oregon.

What to buy

The following list of products is culled from union Web sites, union locals, the Union Industries Show, the AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department, and other sources. Always look for the Made in USA label before purchasing an item.

Toys, Games, Hobbies: Colorforms; Hasbro toys; Parker Brothers games (like Scrabble); sandboxes and playhouses by Fabriform; Fisher Price products; Golden Books & Gol-den Family Entertainment, Inc., activity boxes, cloth blocks for infants, games and puzzles; Leister Games; Testor Corp., hobby kits and sup-plies; Eagle children’s plastic table sets; Ideal easels, games, puzzles, entire line of preschool materials; Etch-A-Sketch classic and color; Frustration; Ghost Writer; Glitter Writer; Michael Jordan Pro basketball set; Tot Traps drum set; Pfaltzgraff Cook and Serve Set, Tea Set; Wall Ball; Ertl cars, trucks, tractors, model and hobby kits; Lionel model trains; Radio Flyer wagons; Dixon Ticonderoga crayons, tempura paints, water colors; Today’s Plastics; Penn-Plax fish tanks, bird cages.

Household Items: Amana; Electrolux Home Products; Frigidaire; Kenmore; Tappan; Gibson; Kelvinator; GE; Hot Air; White Westinghouse appliances; Cutco Cutlery; West Bend coffee makers; Falconer-Denver mirrors; Crystal de Lites crystal figurines; Samsonite/ Cosco card tables and chairs; Plano CD towers; Mirro, Regal, Vollrath, West Bend, Pyrex, All-Clad cookware; Swing-A-Way can openers; Ovens broilers, griddles, fryers; Thermador ovens, cook tops, hoods; Hoover vacuums; Vulcan ranges, deep fryers; Wolf Range Co. Stoves, cook tops, pots; Hollander pillows, comforters, featherbeds, fiberbeds, throws, blankets, mattress covers, and cuddlebeds; Fiesta glassware; Thermos glassware; Homer Laughlin, Lenox and Hall China.

Fragrances: Alberto Culver’s Beyond, Command, Royal Command; Dana Perfumes’ Tabu, Ambush, Priorite, Canoe Sport, Canoe, Herbissmo; Lander aftershave; Revlon’s Charlie, Jontue, Jean Nate, Enjoli; Navy for Women; Chantilly perfumes; British Sterling cologne; English Leather cologne; Watkins fragrances.

Cosmetics: Revlon, Revlon Color Stay, Revlon Age Defying, Moon Drops, Eterna, Fire & Ice, Ciara, Creme of Nature, Realistic, Fabu-Laxer, Roux Fanci-Full, Flex, Outrageous.

Sports Equipment: E-Z Loader boat trailers, Spalding, Callaway golf balls; MacGregor, PowerBilt, Arnold Palmer golf clubs; Louisville hockey sticks; Remington, Colt and Winchester firearms; Rawling, Riddell helmets, ice skates and roller blades; Bauer, Micron, Dauoust, Mega, Lange, Cooper, Flak ice and in-line skates, snow boards, hockey and ski equipment; Penn tennis and racquet balls; St. Croix of Park Falls fishing rods; Kent sporting goods; FNT tennis balls, volleyballs and backstop netting; BARE wetsuits; Algoma sport bags; Wigwam Mills sports socks and hats; Aladdin Thermos products; Brunswick Corp., bowling balls, billiards.

Musical Instruments: Baldwin pianos and organs; Bach, Buescher, Bundy, Selmer USA saxaphones, trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns, trombones, baritone horns, tubas; Yamaha piccolos, trumpets, trombones, clarinets; Selmer USA flutes, clarinets, harmony clarinets, oboes, bassoons; Frank Holton.

ToolS: Tools sold under the brand names of Craftsman and Ridgid are not only American-made by members of the Boilermakers Union, but they are guaranteed for life; Snap-on tools, Armstrong tools, Klein Tools, Edgerton Forge Automatic wrenches; Sears, Agway, Razorback Garden tools, pitchforks; Klein Tools Inc. pliers, hooks.

Entertainment: Tickets to the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, or the Portland Opera will support musicians represented by Musicians Local 99 and stagehands represented by IATSE. The Musicians’ referral line will help you find and hire a union musician for your holiday party. Call 503-235-8791 West of the Cascades, or for the Southern and Eastern part of the state, contact Local 689 in Eugene, at 541-484-0951.

Clothing: Ben Davis, Carhartt, Graybear, King Louie, Kodiak Nemesis, Nemesis, Thinc Actionwear, Union Line, Oshkosh B’Gosh, Outdoor Outfit, Platinum Sportswear, Powers, Pro-Fit, Rubin Brothers, Stone Cutter, Sure-Fit, Team Safety Apparel, Time Out For Her, Union Jeans, Union Line, Wagoner, Wigwam.

Men’s Dress Shirts: Brooks Brothers/Garland Manufacturing, Kenneth Gordon, Phillips-Van Heusen, Arrow, Geoffrey Beane, Calvin Klein, Stafford (at JC Penney).T-Shirts & Knit Shirts: Athletic Cap Company and Crystal Springs Apparel, golf shirts; Lifewear Inc., cotton T-shirts, turtlenecks, sweatshirts and mock turtlenecks; New Jersey Headwear Corp., five- and six-panel ballcaps, bucket hats and visors; Windjammer T-shirts, Henley shirts and golf shirts.

Jackets, Coats & Sweat-shirts: Ben Davis workwear style jackets, shirts, pants; Carhartt jackets and coats; Excelled Sheepskin & Leather Coat Corp. varsity, bomber and motorcycle jackets; Perfect Shoulder/Snap N Wear quilted jackets, vests and sweatshirts; Protexall jackets, work shirts and pants; Reed Sportswear varsity, bomber and motorcycle jackets; Schott NYC pea coats, aviator jackets, motorcycle jackets; Windjammer jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants and fleece-wear.

Neckties & Scarves: Artex Knitting Mills, Brooks Brothers, Kings Choice Neckwear Co. brands: Joseph Abboud, Theory, Ruffian, Bobby Jones, Paul Frederick and Express; Mane Enterprises brand: Banana Republic.

Gloves: Glamour, LL Bean, Mademoiselle, Paris, Lehigh, Reliable Knitting, Knoxville Glove Co.; North Star Glove.

Belts, Bags & Wallets: Nord-Ray leather belts; American Umbrella canvas duffle bags and attaché bags; Bags Specialists ETI/ Konvex totes, sports bags, barrel bags, briefcases, portfolios, garment bags, fanny packs and backpacks; S&D portfolios and address books; Scully briefcases; Stetson luggage tags; Heritage briefcases, shaving kits; 25 Drexel Drive, Americana, Elle, Falchi, Finesse La Model, Jay Herbert, Judith Leiber, Kenneth Cole, Koret, Migid, Sharif Designs Limited, A.L. Seamon, Art Craft, Capezio, EngerKress, Amity, Rolf, LaGarde; Judith Leiber, Members Only, Scully, and Stetson.

Men’s Suits: Brooks Brothers: Golden Fleece; Hartmarx: Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Ted Baker, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Austin Reed, Evan Picone, Pierre Cardin, Coppley, Cambridge, Burberry, Gieves & Hawkes, Jack Nicholas, J. Press, Matteo Maas; Hugo Boss; Joseph Abboud.

Shopping union is easiest for those who have Internet access and are comfortable with buying online. Several Web retailers have exclusively union-made clothing:, justiceclothing. com, and And the AFL-CIO has a list of union-made U.S.-made goods at

Sending Your Gifts

Don’t forget: Gifts should be shipped via United Parcel Service, whose drivers are represented by the Teamsters; or the U.S. Postal Service, which employs members of the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union and Laborers. FedEx is nonunion.

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