Laborers Local 483 elects Askin business manager


In mail ballots counted June 12, Erica Askin was elected business manager of Laborers Local 483, receiving 71 percent of the vote and outpolling challenger Gannon Sorg.

Erica Askin
Erica Askin

Askin is the first female business manager at the largely male local. Local 483, a public sector local of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), represents municipal workers in Portland, Silverton and Gervais and at the Metro regional government. Membership ranges from 900 to 1,100 because Local 483 represents many seasonal workers.

Askin, with a law degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, was hired by Local 483 in 2010, and was appointed to replace business manager Richard Beetle in February 2014 when he retired.

Over the course of her three-year term, Askin says she will continue Local 483’s fight against employers using low-wage temporary, part-time and seasonal workers to do work that could be done by full-time year-round permanent employees at a living wage. She also wants to strengthen the network of union stewards, and get more members involved. She’ll carry forward a not-yet-public campaign to organize new members. And she’ll be responsible for negotiating contract terms for a group of 24 City of Portland park rangers who joined the union after over a year of legal obstruction by the City.

Local 483’s biggest collective bargaining agreement is with the City of Portland, for about 585 members. The local is part of the seven-union District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU).

Local 483 has several pending grievances against the City over outsourcing members’ work. In a case that will go before an arbitrator in August, Local 483 accuses the City of using prison labor to operate a street cleaning machine do the work of street cleaning crews. Another grievance alleges that the City failed to notify the union before outsourcing homeless camp cleanup.

Askin also has contracts to renegotiate for 450 employees of Metro at the Oregon Zoo and regional parks like Oxbow and Blue Lake; 85 seasonal maintenance workers at City of Portland parks; 15 maintenance workers at the City of Silverton; and four police officers at the City of Gervais.

Askin ran on a slate with six other candidates, all of whom were elected. Scott Gibson and Kevin Stampflee outpolled two other candidates to win two at-large seats on the Executive Board. And four other members of the slate ran unopposed: Wesley Buchholz, president; Kassey Diaz, vice president; Ben Nelson, secretary-treasurer; and Jennie Bert, recording secretary.

Also running unopposed were Will Tucker, sergeant-at-arms; and Tom Henn, auditor. Farrell Richartz, formerly recording secretary, outpolled one other candidate to win election as Local 483’s delegate to the District Council of Laborers.


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