Close to 40 active members from at least 13 union locals met Aug. 28 in Portland, and not one of them was over 40 years of age.
The occasion was the inaugural meeting of Young Emerging Labor Leaders (YELL), a new youth caucus within the Oregon AFL-CIO.
Six participants vied for election to a specially set-aside seat on the Oregon AFL-CIO General Board, and after a candidates’ forum moderated by former U.S. Senate candidate Steve Novick, attendees elected Nick Gaitaud, 31, of United Steelworkers Local 7150 to the position.
Gaitaud is a millwright at the ATI Wah Chang titanium foundry commonly known as Oremet. He’s a 10-year member and former treasurer of the 160-member Local 7150. Gaitaud campaigned on the idea that union responsibilities should be broadly shared, so that more members can take part in the work of the union.
YELL’s next meeting, open to any interested union member, will be Friday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at Calapooia Brewing Company in Albany. The band Peculiar Pretzelman will play at 8 p.m.