By Mike Gutwig
The Marion-Polk-Yamhill Counties Central Labor Chapter (MPYCCLC) won’t hold its annual Holiday Party at the Elsinore Theatre again this year. Instead, leadership has chosen to support four regional projects this holiday season.
The Holiday Party was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to that the Labor Chapter had hosted a party at the Elsinore Theatre in downtown Salem uninterrupted for 79 years.
MPYCCLC will make monetary donations to four projects and will encourage its constituent unions and allies to make donations and provide hands-on support. The projects are the Labor of Love effort sponsored by Labor’s Community Services Agency, the Christmas Family Adoption Program in the Salem area, the Oxford House Linfield Center in McMinnville, and the Keizer Business Alliance gift collection effort that reaches families in the Keizer-St. Paul area.
The MPYCCLC is the regional alliance of AFL-CIO-affiliated unions. These unions have about 20,000 members in the three-county area. The leadership and activist team consists of Bob Rossi and Elissa Edge of the National Writers Union, Brent Halse of the Oregon School Employees Association, Jon Irvine of the Machinists Union, Rosalie Pedroza of Communication Workers of America, and Paige Parton of AFSCME.
The MPYCCLC also includes the Oregon chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). CBTU functions as a voice and advocate for Black workers and their communities and does special work with people living in shelters in the Portland area. The MPYCCLC will support these efforts as they develop over the holiday period.
Labor’s Community Services Agency is a long-established resource center for union members and their families who are facing difficult times. The Christmas Family Adoption Program is a non-profit that connects families in need to donors. The Oxford House Linfield Recovery Center was recently destroyed by a fire that displaced seven women and five children. Rebuilding the center will take a great deal of effort. The Keizer Business Alliance gift collection project asks for small donations and help in reaching children and families with presents for the holidays in the Keizer-St. Paul area. This project prioritizes veterans and their families, but past experience has shown that there is an overflow of donated gifts and that others can receive some limited help as well.
“Supporting these projects and our communities is a logical step for us,” said Chapter Vice Chair Paige Barton. “…There is a great need for community solidarity here, and we are allying with our friends to build that solidarity and meet some of our community’s needs over the coming holidays.