Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

March 6, 1998

BILL BEATY of Salem rates a standing ovation as the latest honoree in Labor's Hall of Fame, selected by the sponsoring Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council.

The retirees are affiliated with the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and meet monthly in the NOLC board room at 1125 SE Madison St., Portland.

Beaty was chosen for the Labor Hall of Fame in recognition of his long-term activism in the labor movement and his volunteer work -- repairing old fishing gear and giving it to children as a way of introducing them to the pleasures of angling.

Beaty, 79, has been a union member since joining the Machinists at age 18 while working in a machine shop in his native Kansas. He was born in Hartford, Kan., on July 9, 1918 and was raised on a farm.

AFTER WORLD WAR II service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Beaty took up residence in Salem, working as a mechanic at an automobile dealership's shop. He renewed his membership in the International Association of Machinists, joining Salem Local 1506. But a labor dispute with the Republican politician who owned the dealership ended Beaty's employment there.

A photo of Beaty and other Machinists picketing at the Salem car dealership owned by Douglas McKay ran on the front page of the Labor Press on Nov. 11, 1955. McKay was governor from January 1949 until he resigned in December 1952. He became secretary of the interior in the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower.

Soon after that, Beaty began a new career as a vocational instructor at the MacLaren School for Boys in Salem which later evolved into the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn. He worked there nearly 30 years before retiring. Although he hadn't attended high school back in Kansas, Beaty took college-level courses in order to obtain the vocational education certificate he needed to work at Mac-Laren.

While at MacLaren, Beaty joined the Oregon State Employees Association, now the Oregon Public Employees Union. Later he became a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees after AFSCME Oregon Council 75 won bargaining rights for MacLaren employees. But he also continued to maintain his membership in the Machinists.

FOR 38 YEARS Beaty's been a delegate to the Salem-based Marion-Polk-Yamhill Counties Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He's served as a trustee and has been active in council projects such as the annual children's Christmas party at Salem's Elsinore Theater. He was president of Machinists Local 1506 for three years and also served the same amount of time as president of Machinists District Council 163. After both were dissolved Beaty transferred his membership to Portland-based Machinists Local 1432. He's active in the Oregon Machinists Council and has been a frequent delegate to Oregon AFL-CIO conventions.

The Salem Statesman-Journal published a feature story last fall about Beaty's hobby of repairing old fishing tackle and giving it away to children who might not otherwise have a pole and a reel. The story by reporter Henry Miller said:

"...SURROUNDED BY PILES of reels and boxes and plastic bags of nuts. bolts, washers and springs, a thick sheaf of fishing rods stacked against a wall, the inveterate tinkerer in Beaty has found a cause. "He brings dysfunctional fishing tackle -- the detritus of a throwaway society -- back to life and donates it to kids and programs such as the Senior Fishing Buddies' angler education classes..."

The Salem newspaper story noted that Beaty is "hobbled by arthritis" and "walks haltingly, painfully with a cane." His wife Alberta, who's 72, also has been plagued with physical ailments. She's had both hips replaced and endured a bout with cancer.

AT THIS WRITING, both Bill and Alberta, who were married in Salem in 1950, were in Salem Hospital, Bill for an intestinal blockage, and Alberta because one of her replaced hips slipped out of joint. They marked their 48th wedding anniversary in the hospital with a cake provided by the medical facility's kitchen.

The Beatys have three daughters and two sons and Bill has three sons and a daughter from an earlier marriage. He counts 20 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Anyone wanting to donate fishing gear to Beaty's project can telephone him at 393-2250 in area code 503.


HAROLD LUCAS MORTON, a retired leader in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), died Feb. 17 at Providence Medical Center in Portland at age 86. His death was attributed to lung cancer.

From 1972 until his retirement in 1982, Hal Morton was the Portland-based Seventh District member of the UBC General Executive Board -- the equivalent of an international union vice president. He had been a member of the Carpenters for more than 50 years. He joined the former Portland Millwrights Local 1857 after World War II, in which he served in the U.S. Navy. He was elected as the local's business agent in 1962 and five years later was picked by the UBC as a general representative, a post he held five years before being elected to the union's General Executive Board.

Nearly 250 people -- from labor, management and government -- attended Morton's 1982 retirement dinner at the Portland Hilton.

William Sidell of Los Angeles, general president emeritus of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, AFL-CIO, was the main speaker at the testimonial. He praised Morton's long and dedicated service to the labor movement and said employers had great respect for Morton as a man and as a labor negotiator.

MORTON WAS BORN Dec. 13, 1911 at Rickreall, which is west of Salem and in Polk County. His father, a railroader, was later transferred to Portland where Hal attended grade school and Franklin and Grant high schools.

After he returned home from World War II service, Morton married Mary Elizabeth Carlson in Seattle on Oct. 25, 1945.

Although his career was focused on the Carpenters, Morton also involved himself in other facets of the labor movement. He had served as president of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, and as a trustee of the Oregon Labor Press Publishing Company, representing his local's shares in the non-profit corporation.

Morton also maintained a keen interest in politics, tracking the voting records of officeholders on issues of importance to workers and their families. Even though he'd been retired since December 1982, "he never lost his interest in the Carpenters and the labor movement," said his daughter, Sharon R. Southworth. She is the Portland office manager for the Pacific Northwest District Council of Carpenters, headquartered in Seattle.

Survivors include his wife Mary; daughter Sharon; a son, James R. Morton of Elk River, Minn., and two grandchildren.

Fishing was a favorite leisure activity for Morton. After his retirement he spent much of his time on his 28-foot boat, "Movin' On." His customary fishing spot was in the vicinity of Buoy 10 in the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River. He requested that he be cremated and his ashes scattered there, his daughter said.

He also requested that there be no funeral or memorial service. Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home handled cremation arrangements. Contributions in Morton's memory can be sent to the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Portland.


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