Members of Portland-based Iron Workers Local 29 chose new leadership in a Dec. 5 vote: Challenger Jason Fussell outpolled incumbent Joe Bowers, becoming business manager effective Jan. 2. Fussell ran on a slate alongside vice president candidate Shane Nehls, with the support of retired former business manager Kevin Jensen.
Fussell, 50, is a 22-year member of Local 29. After graduating from Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver in 1987, he went to work for the railroad as a fireman/oiler, but joined Local 29’s apprenticeship program in 1998 on the suggestion of a friend and found a career and a calling.
Fussell showed early aptitude for the work, and won 5th place in the union’s nationwide apprentice skill competition. He spent his first 15 months “busting rods,” laying rebar for C&J Rebar out on the Intel D1C project. In 2009, he was invited to become an instructor at the Iron Workers Training Center. In 2015 he became coordinator of the apprenticeship training center.
As business manager, Fussell will be responsible for representing members, secure work for union contractors, and negotiating the local master agreement that expires July 2020,
Local 29 represents ironworkers in construction in Oregon and six southwest Washington counties. With construction continuing to boom, the local is at or near full employment, at wages of $38 an hour. Membership has grown, reaching 1,461 as of June 30. And the union’s four-year apprenticeship program is thriving, with about 265 apprentices currently enrolled.
- President Rodney Sprinkle
- Vice President Shane Nehls
- Business Agents Shane Nehls and Rodney Sprinkle
- Recording Secretary Tyler Smith
- Executive Committee Eric Cole, Travis Taylor, Jade Worthington, Charles Riggs, Chantz Payne
- Examining Committee Eric Cole, Jade Worthington, Joseph Fields
- Trustees John Hilstead, Dean Viers, Robert Donovan
- Conductor Chantz Payne
- Sergeant at arms Eric Cole
- District Council delegates Shane Nehls, Rodney Sprinkle