Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

February 21, 2003

GARY WILL of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) has been selected as a member of Labor's Hall of Fame sponsored by the Portland-based Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council. Will, 65, who lives in Woodburn, retired two years ago after serving for 11 years at the IAMAW's headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area.

When he retired in 2001, he was an administrative assistant to the union's then international president, George Kourpias, at the Machinists' general offices in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. When he was first assigned to the IAMAW'S headquarters in 1990, he worked in the Organizing Department and later was the administrative assistant to the general vice president in charge of organizing, Larry Downing. His organizing duties took him all over the United States.

He directed a staff of 12 organizers and 18 apprentices; the latter were rotated every two years and then returned to their home locals and councils as experienced organizers. A highlight of his organizing years was working on the merger that brought the International Woodworkers-U.S.A.into the Machinists in 1994. The Woodworkers were headquartered in Gladstone, Oregon, and Will knew many of them from his years in Oregon. Will had been the directing business representative of the union's District Lodge 24 in Portland.

GARY DEAN WILL was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on Jan. 5, 1938 and moved to Oregon with his family four years later. He attended grade school in Hubbard and Eugene and high school at Oxnard, Calif., and North Marion High in Aurora, Oregon. He joined the United States Army Security Agency in 1956 and served as an aircraft mechanic in Korea and at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. While at the latter post, he attended night school and earned his high school diploma.

After completing his military service. Will was hired by Zidell Explorations in 1959 as a burner at its Southwest Portland scrap metal yard along the Willamette River and joined Machinists Local Lodge 1432. In 1967 he took a job with Alaska Tug and Barge Company and worked for 18 months in South Vietnam as a civilian unloading ammunition and other military supplies for the U.S. Armed Forces. He returned to work at the scrap metal yard until 1969 when he went back to Alaska Tug and Barge to unload supplies for the military and civilians in Alaska. The next year he was again at Zidell's scrap yard.

ON AUG. 1, 1970, Will was appointed as a business representative for Local 1432 to fill out an unexpired term and later was elected to a full term. In 1974, when District Lodge 24 was changed from an organizing district to a full-service district, he was appointed as administrative assistant to Directing Business Representative Bob Kennedy. After Kennedy took office in late 1975 as the newly-elected president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, Will succeeded him as District 24's directing business representative. Will held that post until 1981 when the IAMAW appointed him as a grand lodge representative and assigned him to serve the Klamath Falls and Coos Bay areas. vIn 1986, he was transferred to the international union's Portland office and assigned to handle cases before the National Labor Relations Board.

In 1990 he started his 11-year assignment at the IAMAW's headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area.

IN WILL'S YEARS with Local 1432 and District 24, he helped oversee a number of negotiated trust funds. He chaired the Northwest Machinists Health and Welfare Trust Fund and was a trustee on the Western Metal Pension Plan, the Truck Operators League Health and Welfare Trust Fund and the Northwest Machinists Dental Benefit Trust Fund. Also, he served on the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board and was a delegate to the Multnomah County Labor Council, which later became part of the Portland-based Northwest Oregon Labor Council. In addition, he was active in the Oregon Machinists Council and the Oregon Machinists Non-Partisan Political League. And he attended IAMAW conventions from 1972 to 2000.

Will played important roles in representing Machinists in political campaigns. He was one of several labor leaders who led Ron Wyden's successful campaign in 1980 for the Democratic Party's nomination for United States representative in Oregon's Third District. That upset victory over incumbent Bob Duncan launched Wyden's political career which eventually took him to the U.S. Senate where he's served since 1996.

Will took time out of his retirement routine to help now-Governor Ted Kulongoski win the Democratic nomination in the May 2002 primary. He's known Kulongoski since Ted was first elected to the Oregon Legislature two decades ago.

BACK IN 1980, Will was honored as the International Guiding Eyes Inc.'s Achievement Award winner for his work on behalf of the California-based charitable dog-training organization which was started by the Machinists Union in 1948.

Gary and his wife, the former Mary Lou Bockelman of Sioux City, Iowa, will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary in May. They have five sons and a daughter - Gary, Brian, Roger, John, Tom and Teresa; plus seven granddaughters and seven grandsons. The Wills have long made their home in the northern part of Marion County. Their children graduated from St. Luke's Catholic Grade School and Woodburn High.

Because of his family's long connection with Woodburn High, Will breaks up his retirement by volunteering his time from August to November to help out the school's football coach. "I try to make sure the equipment and everything else is organized and I travel with the team to their games," Will said.


"MANUFACTURING IS BLEEDING JOBS" said the national AFL-CIO magazine America@work in a headline over a report on that grim subject. The labor publication's report follows:

"For decades the manufacturing industry - which in 1997 increased by 254,000 jobs - provided the best wages in the nation, enabling families to buy homes, afford health care and send children to college. Yet since 1998, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, with every state suffering thousands of job losses. Many jobs were axed as a result of unfair trade policies, for government subsidies and an overvalued dollar, which helped create a massive trade deficit. "Since April 1998, 2.4 million jobs in manufacturing have disappeared, accounting for 90 percent of jobs since the recession began. Unionized positions, which in 1981 made up some 27 percent of all manufacturing jobs, shrank to 15 percent by 2001.

"Over the past two decades, the nation's deepening trade deficit has contributed to the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs through the importation of cheap products, making it difficult for U.S. companies to sell goods abroad. From 1994 to 2000, the growth in the trade deficit cost 3 million actual and potential jobs, most in manufacturing..."


AN OREGON-BORN foreign correspondent and United States diplomat, Arthur S. Olsen, died of heart disease at age 82 on Jan. 31 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was born Oct. 4, 1920 on a ranch near Burns, in Eastern Oregon's Harney County. His family later moved to the San Francisco area where he grew up and graduated from Santa Clara University. He served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. As a foreign correspondent, he worked for United Press International and the New York Times in South America and Europe. He later was employed by the U.S. State Department as a public affairs officer and as its acting ambassador to Sweden. He was a former member of the Newspaper Guild.


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