New business manager at Sheet Metal Local 16: Charlie Johnson


International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 16 has new leadership.

In voting held throughout Oregon June 22-25, long-time training center instructor Charlie Johnson outpolled business rep Russ Benton 232-107 to become business manager. John Candioto, the previous business manager, resigned June 5 and has since retired.

Local 16 represents nearly 2,200 members in Oregon and Southwest Washington. They work in construction installing architectural sheet metal and HVAC systems, and in production at companies like Thompson Metal Fab. Those are high-skill, high-wage occupations: After a four-year apprenticeship, Portland-area journeyman sheet metal workers in construction make $38.78 an hour plus $18.32 an hour in benefits.

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

Johnson, 50, grew up in Kelso, Washington, and got interested in the metal trades in a high school metal shop class. He studied sheet metal at a vocational college in Tacoma, and moved to Portland in 1985 when Local 16 had an opening in its apprenticeship program. He became journeyman in 1989, worked mostly for Arctic Sheet Metal, and in 1996 began teaching part-time at the Sheet Metal Institute, the local’s joint apprenticeship training center. He taught there full-time from 1998 to 2010, when he took a job at McKinstry. He also got involved in the union, and served on the Local 16 executive board from 2003 to 2015.

As business manager, Johnson said his priorities will be communication and transparency.

“I think our members make great decisions when they’re presented with all the information,” Johnson said.

He’ll also make greater use of technology, using web-based survey tools, and live-streaming meetings so members at the union’s halls in Portland and Springfield can be more closely connected. Johnson said he  wants to promote greater unity — between northern and southern Oregon members, between the union’s construction and production sides, and between Local 16 and other unions. And he’ll support organizers and work with contractors to recapture market share lost to non-union competitors on smaller commercial jobs.

Besides Johnson, members elected four others to full-time positions. [At Local 16, union business representatives are elected.]

  • Joe Harris and Bob Riehl, unopposed for positions representing building trades members in Portland area building trades
  • Incumbent Dennis Dover, who outpolled challenger Shan Blevins 233-79 to represent Southwest Washington building trades.
  • Shawn Eckleberry outpolled Russ Jacobson 171-101 to represent members on the production side.

Also elected were:

  • President Dustin Hysmith, outpolling incumbent Ric Olander 217-113
  • Vice president Tim Freeman, unopposed
  • Recording secretary Mirco Ryba, unopposed 
  • Executive Board: Jim Ramos, Art Himm, and Seth Kerner representing Portland-area building trades members; Joel Hutchinson representing Southern Oregon building trades members; and  Devin Hosking and Bill Willman representing production members.
  • Trustees Ty Lerud, Josh McClaughry, and Chris Vanelverdingh
  • Conductor Steve Carpenter, unopposed
  • Warden Kirsten Leger, unopposed.

All the offices have three-year terms.


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