February 2, 2007 Volume 108 Number 3
Portland Public Schools hires former union official for labor relations job
Tom Gunn, a former grievance director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and a business agent for Oregon Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has been hired as director of labor relations for Portland Public Schools.
Gunn worked for AFSCME during the 1980s, leaving in 1991 to accept a governor’s appointment to the Oregon Workers Compensation Board. He served there until 1996. He then joined the Local 555 staff before leaving to take a job as employment relations manager for Marion County in Salem.
Gunn has a full agenda at the school district, where the 15-union District Council of Unions has been working under the terms of a contract that expired in 2006. Negotiations also are ongoing with classified employees and cafeteria workers. The Oregon Education Association contract doesn’t open until 2008, and bargaining has yet to begin for school custodians, who were reinstated last year by order of the Oregon Supreme Court.
“People at the School District are interested in solving problems, not creating them,” Gunn said. “The direction for me is to build a collaborative relationship with the unions.”
Gunn, 58, lives in Hillsboro with his wife, Pearl, a retired school teacher.
© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.