By DON McINTOSH
Eryn Byram is stepping down as executive director of Labor’s Community Service Agency (LCSA) to take a new job leading the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE.)
Backed by United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, state dislocated worker grants and union fundraising, LCSA works to provide rent assistance, food, and other aid to union members when they and their families are in need. Members are referred by their union staff and officers, and LCSA staff provide small grants or help connect them to benefits.
Byram, 47, first got active in the local labor movement in 2005, when she became a member of HERE Local 9 while working as a restaurant server at the Portland Hilton. She eventually went to work for the local. In 2012, she started at LCSA as an administrative assistant. When LCSA director Vickie Burns retired in 2017, Byram took over leadership of the group. Over her five years leading LCSA, she more than quadrupled its budget, tripled staff, mobilized to meet needs during pandemics and wildfire seasons, and developed new programs like a childcare program to help women and minorities starting out in building trades. She also worked to build up the group’s core of volunteers.
“Half of what we do is serving the families,” Byram said. “The other half is bringing labor together.”
At MAWE, she’ll work to increase opportunities for women and minorities in building trades unions in the Portland metro area. MAWE is a community alliance that includes building trades unions, minority contractors, nonprofit pre-apprenticeship programs, and community-based organizations. Byram starts in November, but she’ll stay on at LCSA through Oct. 7 to orient her successor at LCSA, Shammra Lacy.
Lacy, 51, started Sept. 6. She comes to LCSA with a nonprofit background. She has worked for the American Cancer Society since 2008 doing fundraising and outreach. Lacy grew up in Oregon City in a union household; her father was a Teamster and other relatives were union members as well. Working at Evergreen School District in Vancouver, she became a building rep for her union, SEIU Local 1948. At LCSA, she’s eager to use her skills to make an impact.