September 18, 2009 Volume 110 Number 18

SEIU’s Crider leaves organized labor

Lynn-Marie Crider, policy director for Portland-headquartered Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49, has left organized labor to work as policy analyst for Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research (OHPR). OHPR is a state agency that is developing a plan for comprehensive health coverage. The new job began Sept. 1.

“I made a decision that I wanted to be working full-time on health care reform,” Crider told the Labor Press. “The Legislature has said we want to provide affordable high-quality health care to all Oregonians, and that’s something I totally believe in.”

Budget reductions at Local 49 were also a factor in Crider’s decision to apply for the job.

Crider, 56, has spent most of the last 27 years working for the labor movement as a lawyer, researcher, organizer, and negotiator.

“It would be nice if labor relations was not as legalistic as it is, but it is, so there’s no way that a trade union can function without having legal expertise.” Crider said. “I was usually the legal expertise part of the team.”

With a bachelor’s degree from University of Oregon and a law degree from Yale University Law School, Crider was first hired in 1982 as staff attorney for the Western Region of the International Woodworkers of America, which later merged into the Machinists Union. She later worked a year for a legislative labor committee, and five years at the Workers Compensation Board, before joining SEIU Local 503 (Oregon Public Employees Union) as legal counsel in 1995, and SEIU 1199 in Washington in 1998 as a organizer.

She next joined then-president Tim Nesbitt at the Oregon AFL-CIO as research and education director in 2000. Crider says some of the work she’s most proud of was at the state labor federation — educating affiliates about the harm done by NAFTA-style trade treaties and the World Trade Organization.

“We figured out how to speak more coherently about really complex trade issues and explain what difference it made for working people, and why we should care,” Crider said.

She went to work for SEIU Local 49 in 2004. Local 49 represents over 4,000 hospital workers, and there, Crider authored reports on hospital pricing practices, overbuilding, and market domination. She testified before state and local government bodies, and in general helped keep the pressure on hospitals to live up to their charitable mission. And she served as a labor representative on the Finance Committee of the Oregon Health Fund Board.

“We don’t think of [Crider’s departure] as a loss to us,” said Local 49 Political Director Felisa Hagins. “We think of it as a gift to the State of Oregon.”

Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.