In mail ballots counted June 15, Richard “Buz” Beetle was elected to a third three-year term as business manager of Laborers Local 483, outpolling challenger Ron McKinney 173 to 134.
Business manager is the only full-time elected office at Local 483, which is a public-sector local of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA). The local represents 846 public sector workers, including about 600 at the City of Portland, plus workers at the Oregon Zoo, maintenance workers at Portland International Airport and the Port of Portland shipping terminals, landscapers at non-profit Portland Habilitation Center, and municipal employees in Mt. Angel, Silverton, and Gervais.
Beetle, 63, said his agenda for the third term will include improving the image of public employees.
“With the attacks we see on public employees going on across the country, we feel it’s more important now than ever before that public employees make a stronger connection to the community,” Beetle said. “We need to be seen as a resource, not a liability.”
Another priority will be winning further gains for a group of seasonal maintenance workers employed by the Portland Parks Bureau. Local 483 has waged a multi-year fight to organize the low-wage unit, which currently consists of about 160 temporary employees, Beetle said.
McKinney, the other candidate for business manager, is a sewer repair worker at the Portland Department of Transportation and was Local 483’s president. His former office will now be filled by former vice president Scott Gibson, who ran unopposed. Also elected unopposed were: Kevin Stampflee, vice president; Thomas Gannon Sorg, secretary-treasurer; Mark Lewis, sergeant-at-arms, and Mike Murphy and Wesley Buchholz, at-large members of the Executive Board. Gibson and Buchholz also outpolled Paul LaCroix to win two spots as delegates to the international convention.
“This is a very exciting time to be in organized labor,” Beetle told the Labor Press. “There’s a lot of fear and anxiety, but there’s a lot of opportunity, as well, to be part of a regeneration of the labor movement.”
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