Portland-area labor unions weigh in on May 17 primary races


NW Oregon Labor Council backs Novick in Portland, Schroeder in Multnomah Co.

Delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council issued endorsements for the May 17 primary.

At the City of Portland, delegates endorsed commissioners Steve Novick and Amanda Fritz for re-election. The council took no action in the mayoral race, where 12 candidates have filed to succeed Charlie Hales, who is not running for re-election. The top two contenders are state Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey. Wheeler is term-limited from office and Bailey is giving up his post to run.

In Multnomah County, five candidates are running to succeed Bailey. All of them — Brian Wilson, Eric Zimmerman, Sharon Meieran, Mel Rader, and Marisha Childs — are considered “strong” candidates for labor, so no action was taken to single out just one.

NOLC supports Jessica Vega Pederson in District 3. The seat is currently held by Judy Shiprack, who is term-limited.

In District 4, delegates endorsed union activist Amanda Schroeder to succeed Diane McKeel, who also is term limited. Lynn Lehrbach, a retired union rep for Teamsters Joint Council No. 37, had filed to run for the seat, but has since withdrawn. Schroeder is president of the American Federation of Government Employees and serves on the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board.

In Clackamas County, delegates issued a “no endorsement” for incumbent Chair John Ludlow, as well as for District 4 Commissioner Tootie Smith. A no endorsement means the council will actively work to defeat the two Tea Party Republicans. Two current Clackamas County Commissioners — Paul Savas and Jim Bernard — are running against Ludlow for chair.  NOLC delegates consider both men decent on labor issues, so they stayed out of the race. Neither Savas or Bernard will lose their seat if they lose.

Tea Partier Smith faces two opponents — Sandy Mayor Bill King, and Ken Humbertson, a retired probation officer who serves on the Clackamas River Water Board and the Clackamas County Economic Development Commission. Humbertson has some union endorsements, but NOLC decided to stay out of the race for now. Delegates did endorse incumbent Commissioner Martha Schrader for Position 3.

Delegates endorsed a Clackamas County Emergency Communications bond measure, as well as a Milwaukie Library bond measure.

At Metro, the labor council endorsed incumbents Sam Chase in District 5 and Bob Stacey in District 6.

In Columbia County, NOLC supports Margaret Magruder for commissioner, Position 1, and incumbent Commissioner Tony Hyde for Position 3. The Position 1 seat is an open seat now held by Earl Fisher, who is not seeking re-election.

In Washington County, delegates backed incumbent Dick Schouten in District 1.


AFSCME Local 189 endorses both Bailey and Wheeler for Portland mayor

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 189, the union that represents about 1,000 Portland city employees, has dual-endorsed Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler for mayor in the May primary.

Twelve candidates have filed for the open seat. If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, the top two will advance to the November general election.

“We are aware from their track record in other positions that both Bailey and Wheeler have been great for working people,” said Local 189 President Mark Gipson. “Neither one has worked for the city directly before, but both candidates have been excellent with our fellow AFSCME members in their roles with Multnomah County and in state government, and we simply couldn’t zero in on one or the other.

“It is a good ‘problem’ to have,” Gipson added.

Local 189 also endorsed incumbent city Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick.

“We are thrilled that Commissioner Fritz helped pass the city’s family leave and sick leave laws,” said Gipson. “Commissioner Novick has always been accessible to hear our concerns, and he has long been a local supporter of working people.”


AFSCME Local 88 endorses in Multnomah County races

AFSCME Local 88, which  represents about 3,500 workers at Multnomah County, as well as employees at Transition Projects Inc. and Central City Concern,  has issued a series of commissioner endorsements for the May primary election.

Local 88 President Jason Heilbrun, a senior business systems analyst for the county, announced the following endorsements:

  • Multnomah Commission Dist. 1: Dual endorsement for Brian Wilson and Eric Zimmerman.
  • Multnomah Commission Dist. 3: Jessica Vega Pederson.
  • Multnomah Commission Dist. 4: Amanda Schroeder.

“The dynamics of District 1 changed, in particular, when Commissioner Jules Bailey announced his candidacy for mayor in early January,” said Heilbrun. “Given the short notice and the presence of two candidates who really rose to the top, we ultimately decided a dual endorsement in that race was the best option.”

Heilbrun said Schroeder has strong labor roots as the president of her federal government employees local union when she worked for the Veteran’s Administration. Schroeder also is a member of the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board.

Local 88’s endorsement process included a written questionnaire, an interview with the union’s Political Action Committee and a candidate forum with all candidates. Ultimately proposed endorsements are debated and voted on at a general membership meeting. Heilbrun notes all Local 88 endorsements came by a two-thirds majority vote.


Tim Probst gets early backing from Washington AFL-CIO   

The Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) has endorsed Tim Probst, Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 17th District covering eastern Vancouver and other parts of southwest Clark County east of I-205.

The seat is currently held by Republican Don Benton. He announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election.

Probst is the first candidate the WSLC has recommended for the 2016 election cycle. It’s only the third time in the labor federation’s history that it has endorsed a candidate prior to its political endorsement convention (to be held May 21). The other candidates receiving early support were U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and former State Rep. Tami Green.

But with the importance of the 17th District, and an incumbent not running, the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council urged the WSLC to take action at its February Executive Board meeting.

Earlier this year, Probst received endorsements from IBEW Local 48 and Vancouver Fire Fighters Local 452.

Probst served two terms as a state representative for the 17th Legislative District. In 2012, he gave up his seat to run against Benton. He lost by 78 votes.


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