New leader takes presidency at Oregon AFSCME


By Don McIntosh

Elizabeth Goetzinger, a project manager in the Communications department at Metro, ran unopposed and was elected president of 24,000-member Oregon AFSCME.

At Oregon AFSCME’s first and only online convention April 30-May 2, delegates from locals around the state elected top officers to lead the 24,000-member union the next two years. All officers ran unopposed. AFSCME stands for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Longtime incumbent Oregon AFSCME president Jeff Klatke opted not to run for re-election, and was succeeded by Elizabeth Goetzinger, who is president of 430-member AFSCME Local 3580 at the Metro regional government. Goetzinger, 46, works in internal communications for Metro’s chief executive officer. Born and raised in Texas, she moved to the Portland area in 1997 and went to work for Metro in 2006. She joined Local 3580 in 2007, and became a union steward in 2014, but her involvement deepened in 2015 when her daughter got sick.

“My family was in crisis and it was my union who was there for me,” Goetzinger said, “to advocate for a flexible schedule, to advocate for a reduction of hours, beyond what could have been afforded to me under the contract.” 

When her daughter recovered, she decided to pay it back. She was elected president of the local, and served on Oregon AFSCME executive board.

Now, as president of Oregon AFSCME, Goetzinger says her priority will be to build an inclusive and strong union, and make sure all members have a sense of belonging. 

Oregon AFSCME president is a volunteer position, and Goetzinger remains employed at Metro. Outside work she spends time with her horse, her daughter Ceara, and her husband Phillip Goetzinger, a union carpenter. 

Also elected: 

  • First vice president Christy O’Neill (Local 2619) 
  • Second vice president Charlie Peirson (Local 2805) 
  • Treasurer Fred Yungbluth (Local 350) 
  • Secretary Meredith Hickman (Local 3940) 
  • Trustees Theresia Lloyd-Siemer (Local 328) and Sheryl Harrington (Local 2619)


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