Scott Lucy, a 35-year member of Machinists Lodge 63, will officially retire at the end of August.
Prior to retiring, Lucy also was serving as president of the District Council of Unions at Portland Public Schools. His résumé includes stints as president of the Portland Metal Trades Council, and as vice president of the District Council of Trade Unions at the City of Portland. All are coalitions of many unions that deal with the same employer.
“I had some longevity with those organizations, so I thought I should step up. It was challenging (and time consuming),”?he said. “But I really enjoyed working with the other crafts and the other unions.”
Lucy joined the Machinists in August of 1979, after taking a job as a machinist at Paul Brong Machine Works in Northeast Portland.
“I was new to town, and I was actually driving to Boeing to apply for a job there. I went the wrong way on Sandy Boulevard, so I stopped to ask for directions at Paul Brong. They hired me on the spot,” Lucy recalled.
He worked at Paul Brong for eight years, serving as a shop steward and on the union bargaining committee in 1983 and 1986. During that time, employees took part in an 8-week strike in 1980, and endured a 4-week strike in 1986. The labor dispute involved multiple machine shops that bargained jointly.
Lucy left the company in May 1987 for a job at Boeing. He remained active in the union, serving as vice president of Lodge 63, as a delegate to District 24, and on District 24’s Executive Board.
He weathered two historic strikes at Boeing. The first was in 1989, which lasted 48 days (the longest strike in company history at the time). The second strike came in 1995. That one lasted 69 days — through Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — and broke the old record of 48 days.
“I had a wife and two children. Three weeks after my son was born, I was out on strike,” he said.
The issue in 1995 was subcontracting. Boeing wanted to allow subcontractors to work inside the plant.
“We had to fight that off, and we did,” Lucy said.
From 2000 to 2005, Lucy served as chief shop steward at Boeing. The post is devoted full time to union issues and comes with a furnished office supplied by the company. He enjoyed the job, but he had to work through some very difficult times following 9/11. The terrorist attack hit the airline industry hard and Boeing had to lay off more than 600 workers.
In December of 2005, Lucy was elected as a business representative. He came in with a slate of brand new union reps that included Joe Kear, Britt Cornman and Phil Dilsaver.
Lucy was assigned to represent 25 shops, including the Portland shipyards, Portland Public Schools, the City of Portland, Cummins NW, to name a few.
“I did the best that I could,” he said.
Reflecting on the last 35 years, Lucy said workers used to strike for better wages; then to keep their health insurance. “Now workers strike to keep what they have,” he said.
Lucy believes Boeing and other large corporations have found a loophole that has unfairly tilted the playing field in their favor. That loophole is to coerce states to bid against each other for the largest corporate subsidies, and pitting workers against each other, he said.
“In reality, when corporations get big tax breaks, it comes at our (the taxpayers’) expense,”?he said. “To me, that’s unpatriotic behavior.”
Lucy, who lives in Northeast Portland, said he’s still getting used to retirement. “It’s definitely a life change,” he said.
Divorced with two adult children, he enjoys woodworking, vintage cars and photography. He recently finished making a 9-foot dining room table out of refurbished wood from an old barn. The lumber had been sitting in his basement for 20 years.
“There are no immediate plans,” he said. “Though I would like to find something that helps people.”
Whether that means running for elected office or volunteering for a community group, he’s still undecided.
“I haven’t ruled out anything,” he said.