Unions start to weigh in on Portland mayor’s race


Unions representing workers at the City of Portland are starting to weigh in on the May primary election for mayor.

On Jan. 24, the largest union at the City — the 950-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 189 — endorsed State Rep. Jefferson Smith. A week before that, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48 announced its support of businesswoman Eileen Brady. Local 48 represents about 100 electricians at the City.

Both locals are part of the District Council of Trades Unions, a coalition of seven union locals representing some 1,800 City employees. The other locals include Laborers Local 483, Operating Engineers Local 701, Painters District Council 5, Plumbers and Fitters Local 290 and Machinists Lodge 1005. The DCTU has not yet endorsed a candidate in the mayor’s race.

Smith and Brady are among 18 candidates running to succeed Mayor Sam Adams, who is not seeking re-election. Smith, Brady and former Portland city commissioner Charlie Hales are the front-runners.

In a press release, Local 189 said with the City’s weak mayor structure, a mayor needs to be able to build consensus with four other strong personalities. As a state representative, Jefferson Smith has a proven track record of consensus building, without compromising on important issues such as protecting voting rights and creating transparency in government. He has shown through his work to limit middle management and focus budgets on front line services that he is willing to challenge the status quo.

IBEW Local 48 Business Manager Clif Davis said the union backed Brady based on her experience as co-founder of New Seasons Market, and for her work on the Oregon Health Fund Board. “The next mayor of Portland needs to be a job creator,” he said. “Portland needs Eileen’s deep management and job creation experience in the mayor’s office.”

Currently, 18 candidates have filed to run for mayor (the deadline to file is March 6). One of them, Max Bauske, is a member of UFCW Local 555. Bauske, 22, works part-time at Fred Meyer and attends Portland Community College full time.

The primary election is May 15. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more