Len Phillips, Sheet Metal 16 business manager, retires

Len Phillips

Len Phillips, a 40-year member of Portland-based Sheet Metal Workers Local 16, has retired as business manager/financial secretary. The local’s Executive Board appointed business agent John Candioto to complete the unexpired term.

The Executive Board appointed Russ Benton to fill Candioto’s unexpired term as a business agent.

The transition takes place Dec. 1.

Officer elections will be held in June 2012.

Phillips, 62, has held the local’s top position since 2003. He had less than a year remaining on his third term.

A graduate of the Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship and training program, Phillips worked as a business agent for the local from 1993 to 1995, servicing Southern Oregon. He returned to the tools in 1995, taking a job as a construction manager for Southland Industries. That’s what he was doing when he was appointed business manager in 2003, following the resignation of Bob Ronspiess.

In addition to business manager, Phillips has served as president of the local, as a pension trustee, on the apprenticeship and training committee, and as a trustee to the international training trust.

“The local is stable and on solid financial ground,” Phillips said. “When I took this job, I set a goal of leaving office with the union better off than I found it. I feel we’ve done that. Now, I’ve challenged my successor and the other officers to do the same.”

John Candioto

Candioto, 54, has worked full time as an elected business agent for Local 16 since 2006. Prior to that he served one term on the Executive Board.

A native Oregonian, Candioto grew up in a union household. His late father was a member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, and his grandfather was a union boilermaker.

“I was a union kid,” he said.

After graduating from Portland’s Cleveland High School, Candioto moved to the Tri-Cities in Washington, where he worked as a union construction laborer.

In 1976 he entered the sheet metal apprenticeship program in the Tri-Cities, joining Sheet Metal Workers Local 242 (now Local 55). He followed work to Portland in 1988, where he transferred his union card to Local 16.

Candioto said work in Local 16’s jurisdiction currently is the best it’s been in two and a half years. “We’re not fully recovered, but we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The union represents 2,200 Sheet Metal Workers in both construction and industrial production.

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