By DON McINTOSH
BEND, Ore. — Over 210 delegates and 100 honorary delegates and guests assembled Sept. 21-23 at the Riverhouse hotel and convention center for the state’s biggest labor gathering. Held every two years, the Oregon AFL-CIO convention brings together leaders from affiliated unions for three days of speeches, workshops, and relationship building as they elect leaders and exercise their right to have a say on the federation’s priorities.
This year’s convention, the federation’s 58th, was harmonious and well-organized. All 27 officers were elected unopposed, and delegates passed all 21 introduced resolutions without debate.
Staged by a union crew of IATSE members and entertained by members of American Federation of Musicians Local 99, the convention kicked off with a bagpipe procession, presentation of colors, and a pledge of allegiance to the flag. Delegates sat together according to which international union they belonged to.
Over three days they heard from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Congreswoman Andrea Salinas, and Oregon State Senate President Rob Wagner and Oregon House Speaker Dan Rayfield, among other elected leaders.
Attendees also watched a video greeting from acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su and a recorded interview that Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor conducted with National Labor Relations Board general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. (You can watch it too, at youtu.be/NB0C3CIlICU.) And they attended a screening and panel discussion of “9to5: The Story of a Movement,” a documentary about female office workers in the 1970s who formed a union to combat rampant sexism. (It’s available on Netflix.)
The federation welcomed a delegation of visitors from SEIU Local 503, as well as delegations from two unions that affiliated since the previous convention — Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the National Writers Union.
The Oregon AFL-CIO’s full-time president speaks for Oregon labor and oversees staff. Its volunteer secretary-treasurer minds the books. And its VPs and board members meet quarterly to make decisions between conventions.
PRESIDENT Graham Trainor (IBEW)
SECRETARY-TREASURER Sarina Roher (OFNHP)
- Joe Baessler (AFSCME)
- Shirley Block (ATU)
- Karl Koenig (IAFF)
- Brandon Bryant (IAM)
- Garth Bachman (IBEW)
- Anne Tan Piazza (ONA)
- Sarah Wofford (OSEA/AFT)
- Dan Clay (UFCW)
- Robert Camarillo (Oregon Building Trades)
- Jeff McGillivray (Lane County CLC)
At-large board members
- James Anderson (IUOE)
- Yvonne Angel (AFGE)
- Joe Neely (UA)
- Fiona Yau-Luu (UFCW)
- Daniel Cortez (APWU)
- Zack Culver (LiUNA)
- Ron Rodgers (USW)
- Fred Yungbluth (AFSCME)
- David Norton (NALC)
- Will Lukens (IAM)
- Rose Etta Venetucci (IATSE)
- Pam Gordon (ONA)
- Taylor Almond (BCTGM)
- Travis Eri (IBEW)
- Ariana Jacob (AFT-Oregon)
Conventioneers lauded those who went above and beyond.
- Leadership in organizing and growth Oregon Nurses Assn.
- Leading the Way in Organizing Oregon AFSCME in behavioral health, IATSE 154 for organizing maintenance and custodial
- Solidarity Champion Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber
- Innovations in Organizing UFCW 555 for Imperfect Foods and AFT-Oregon for Friends of the Children
- Rising Star State Rep. Nathan Sosa
- Building Local Worker Power Central Oregon Labor Chapter
- Working Class Hero Russell Lum of the Oregon Nurses Association
- Legislator of the Year State Rep. Dacia Grayber
The official business of the convention is setting policy for the labor federation. Here are some of the 21 resolutions delegates approved:
- Support campaign finance reform that limits contributions by corporations and the rich while preserving the ability of unions to pool hundreds of small donations from members;
- Hire professional union interpreters and translators whenever available for events;
- Ask registrants at all Oregon AFL-CIO events for their interpretation and accessibility needs;
- Ensure that labor is at the forefront of the nationwide fight for bodily autonomy and gender, LGBTQ+, and reproductive justice;
- Advocate for fairness, justice, and equity for all LGBTQIA2S+ workers, not just during Pride but always;
- Support a call for an emergency national labor conference in defense of reproductive justice;
- Support a ballot initiative to prohibit hospitals from making certain types of investments and require hospitals to publicly disclose financial figures, including income, general salary, and benefit information;
- Support a ballot initiative to require cannabis businesses to sign labor peace agreements;
- Work to pass a state law to establish apprenticeship standards on K-12 school construction projects;
- Work to pass a state law to close the prevailing wage loophole and create apprenticeship standards for publicly funded affordable housing projects;
- Work to pass a state law to enact the principles, protections, and ideas of the PRO Act on a state level;
- Support legislation aimed at lessening workplace violence against health care workers;
- Support and endorse all workers to have access to protected paid “mental health days” in addition to any applicable state laws regarding “protected sick time;”
- Oppose the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertson’s; and
- Reaffirm a commitment to support striking workers everywhere.