Local unions hope to get some of their own elected in Oregon’s May 19 special election, which fills low-profile non-partisan positions like school boards and port commissions.
AFSCME member Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington, is running for Portland Public Schools’ Zone 5 Board seat, and has the endorsement of Portland Association of Teachers and Carpenters Local 247. His opponent, Pam Knowles, is the chief operating officer of the Portland Business Alliance. She has the endorsement of Service Employees Local 503.
Teachers union leader Deborah Barnes is running for mayor of Milwaukie with the endorsement of the city employees union (AFSCME Local 350), Professional Fire Fighters Association of Clackamas County, Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC), and her own union, North Clackamas Education Association.
Barnes grew up in a union household: Her father Wendell Barnes was a meatcutter at Stroheckers Market and member of the negotiating team for what is now United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.
Barnes was president of her American Federation of Television and Radio Artists local when she worked as a broadcast journalist at KPAM and other stations. For the past 15 years she has been a teacher at the Sabin-Schellenberg Center in the North Clackamas School District. She serves on her union’s executive board and is currently a member of the Milwaukie City Council.
Her opponent, Republican Jeremy Ferguson, is a fellow city council member who was appointed interim mayor on the promise he wouldn’t run for the job, but he changed his mind.
Earl Scott, a member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21, is running for Port of St. Helens Commission, Position 5. Several Port of St. Helens terminals in Rainier use nonunion workers, ILWU wants members elected to port commissions as a voice to ensure that ports promote family-wage jobs. Scott has the endorsement of ILWU locals 21 and 8 and NOLC.
Chuck Moffitt, former AFSCME Local 189 vice president and former treasurer of Oregon AFSCME Council 75, is running for Position 2 on the board of Multnomah Education Service District. MESD, like other education service districts around the state, handles programs like special education that aren’t cost effective for school districts to handle by themselves. Moffitt, who retired April 2008 after 22 years as an accountant at the City of Portland, has the endorsement of Oregon Education Association and AFSCME Local 1995, both of which represent MESD employees.
In 2007 MESD tried to take away benefits, and board members wouldn’t talk to the union even as AFSCME members struck for two weeks. Moffitt faces two other candidates, including incumbent Sean Schafer, who is backed by four MESD board members.
Local 1995 is also endorsing Bernie Guisto and Mike Delman, who are running unopposed for other MESD seats.
In the Willamette Valley, the Marion-Polk-Yamhill Counties Labor Council endorsed Nancy MacMorris-Adix for the Salem-Keizer School Board, Zone 3, and Malic Morris for a seat on the Polk County Fire District #1 Board. Morris, of Monmouth, is a union firefighter with the Tualatin Valley Fire Department.