By DON McINTOSH
AFSCME Local 2619 member Christy O’Neill resigned as secretary-treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO at the Sept. 7 meeting of its executive board.
O’Neill was elected secretary-treasurer alongside president Graham Trainor at the 2019 Oregon AFL-CIO convention. Secretary-treasurer is the labor federation’s number two elected office, but it’s a volunteer position, unlike president, a full-time position overseeing staff.
In September 2021, O’Neill took a leave of absence from her job as a union-represented preschool teacher at a Medford Head Start in order to work as an organizer for Oregon AFSCME.
Now O’Neill is resigning from her position at the Oregon AFL-CIO in order to accept a new job as child care mentor for a new “provider services” branch of United We Heal Training Trust. United We Heal Training Trust is a joint union-management training trust formed in September 2021 by Oregon AFSCME. It was recently awarded a state grant of $7.9 million to expand child care spots. O’Neill will work to dispense funds to licensed childcare providers represented by Oregon AFSCME, to help them expand capacity, meet quality benchmarks, and comply with state regulations.
But as an employee of the trust she would no longer be a union member, and Oregon AFL-CIO bylaws say officers have to be members of an affiliated union.
The Oregon AFL-CIO will appoint a new secretary-treasurer at its next quarterly meeting in December. Whoever that is would serve the remainder of O’Neill’s term office, until the biennial Oregon AFL-CIO convention Sept. 20-23, 2023.