By DON McINTOSH
For Southwest Washington’s labor community, it was the first full-sized live labor gathering since the pandemic. Jointly sponsored by the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council (SWWACLC) and Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council (CWCLC), the First Annual Labor Heroes of Southwest Washington Awards Dinner filled a ballroom Feb. 4 at the Vancouver Hilton with about 200 attendees. It drew not just labor community but also friendly elected officials, like Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, who attended with her husband and gave welcoming remarks. Overcoming lingering pandemic fears, the event was sold out. Attendees observed COVID safety protocols by remaining masked when they weren’t eating or drinking.
“I think there is just a hunger for people to get together right now,” said Harold Phillips, SAG/AFTRA delegate to SWWACLC and master of ceremonies for the event. “This was a great opportunity to do that, and to honor the people who don’t get the attention they deserve.”
The event was originally been slated for February 2021, but state regulations at the time prohibited public gatherings.
The event honored outstanding union members and allies as well as unions that had big wins in the previous year, and raised money for a good cause. A silent auction and raffle raised over $6,000 for Labor’s Community Services Agency, a union-supported nonprofit that helps local union members when they’re laid off or otherwise in hardship.
It was an all-union affair, from the Vancouver Hilton banquet staff represented by UNITE HERE Local 8 to the IATSE members at employee-owned People’s AV Company doing sound, to event emcee Harold Phillips, who worked under Actor Equity terms. Attendees also contributed $1,600 in tips which were distributed to banquet and AV staff.
Awards were presented by SWWACLC president Shannon Myers (a member of Machinists Local W536) and CWCLC president Diana Winther, general counsel at IBEW Local 48, and by other officers of the two councils. Vancouver-based Southwest Washington Central Labor Council (SWWACLC) represents 17,000 members of 51 affiliated local unions, while Longview-based Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council represents about 5,000 members of 25 affiliated unions.
And this year’s honorees are …
For the SW Washington Central Labor Council:
- Union Leader Dawn Marick, Washington State Nurses Assn.
- Union Member Diana Winther, IBEW Local 48
- Union Clark College Association of Higher Education
- Union Ally Labor’s Community Service Agency
- CLC volunteers Doug & Leah Long, John Murphy BCTGM 364
- In Solidarity Award Harold Phillips SAG/AFTRA
Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council
- Union leader Shawn Nyman, SEIU Local 925
- Union member Kathy Arneson, Washington State Nurses Assn.
- Union Longview NewsGuild
- Union ally JH Kelly (contractor) and Longview School District
- CLC volunteer Tara McElligott, Int’l Chemical Workers Union
- In Solidarity Award Michael Bridges, Longview-Kelso Building Trades