Heather Conroy steps down Aug. 6 after five years as the elected executive director of Oregon’s largest union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503. Conroy was named executive vice president of SEIU’s international at its quadrennial convention in May. Local 503 represents 55,000 public and publicly funded workers. Conroy has been with the union since 1997. She’ll remain in Portland in her new position.
Oregon AFL-CIO has a new staff person to assist affiliates in organizing campaigns. Alma Raya comes from the Immigrant Organizing Project in Los Angeles, where she helped organize carwash workers, grocery workers, construction workers and taxi drivers. Raya was born in Mexico and grew up in Salinas, California, where she worked in the fields alongside her parents. Raya is a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows children of undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. At the Oregon AFL-CIO, Raya replaces organizer Ben Nelson, who took a job as an organizer at Laborers Local 483.
Oregon AFSCME collective bargaining director Stacy Chamberlain was elected vice president of the AFSCME national union at its July 18-22 convention, filling the national union board seat that was held by newly retired Oregon AFSCME executive director Ken Allen.
Jaime Sorenson moved on July 6 after five years as a staff representative at Oregon AFSCME to take a job at Kaiser Permanente. In the new job, she’ll communicate with union members about the benefits of choosing Kaiser, an all-union health provider. Sorenson is a former president of AFSCME Local 328 at Oregon Health and Science University.
Joe Esmonde retired May 1 as a business representative and political coordinator at IBEW Local 48. Esmonde joined Local 48 in 1988, and became a staff member in 2000. In retirement, he will continue to serve as a member of the TriMet Board of Directors. At Local 48, Jon Jensen has assumed the role of political coordinator.