Several hundred delegates from Oregon labor unions will converge Oct. 23-25 in Seaside for the biennial convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO. Among the highlights: a debate among candidates for Oregon secretary of state, a message of support from national AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler, and keynote addresses from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.
The Oregon AFL-CIO is the premier coordinating body for the state’s labor movement: Its affiliates include 274 union locals from 40 international unions, representing over 100,000 union members. Its reach also extends to another 192,000 Oregonians who are members of Working America, the AFL-CIO organization for those who don’t have a union in their workplace.
At the Seaside Convention Center, convention delegates will spend the three days electing officers, debating official resolutions, and taking part in discussions on racial justice, climate change, and non-traditional forms of organizing.
Saturday evening they’ll head out to the streets of Seaside to circulate cards pledging to support an increase in the minimum wage. They’ll unwind at the opening night party, a comedy show, and a casino night with donated union-made products as prizes.
The debate among candidates for secretary of state is tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 24. It will include Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, state Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Eugene) and state Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). The stakes are high: Whoever does best in the debate could win the prize of the labor federation’s endorsement, if they can find a two-thirds majority of delegates to get behind them. All three candidates have longstanding ties to organized labor.
Numerous other elected officials will turn up to the Seaside Convention Center. But notably not invited this year were the four Oregon Democrats who voted for Fast Track this June: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Kurt Schrader.