Kotek racking up union endorsements

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek met with workers at Columbia Sportswear Feb. 22, 2020 to hear why they wanted to unionize with the Teamsters.

By DON McINTOSH

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has been accumulating endorsements from organized labor since she launched her campaign for governor in September. The Oregon State Building Trades Council was first to back her, at its mid-September convention. Since then, eight other labor groups have endorsed Kotek:

  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 16
  • IBEW Local 48
  • IBEW Local 280
  • Oregon & Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers
  • United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290
  • Ironworkers Pacific NW District Council
  • Painters District Council 5
  • Oregon Nurses Association

Kotek is seeking the Democratic nomination, and in the May 2022 primary, she faces State Treasurer Tobias Read and first-time candidate Nicholas Kristof, a longtime New York Times opinion columnist.

So far Kristof is the only other candidate with a union endorsement: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 announced in November that it’s endorsing him, in part to signal frustration with top Oregon Democrats who failed to support front-line grocery workers during the pandemic.

None of Oregon’s big politically active public sector unions have weighed in yet. Nor has the Oregon AFL-CIO, the state’s premier federation of unions.

Also in the race is Betsy Johnson, who resigned as Democratic State Senator from Scappoose mid-December to mount a campaign as an independent.

Republicans running include Christine Drazan of Canby, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, and physician Bud Pierce, the 2016 Republican nominee who lost to Democrat Kate Brown.

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