Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

March 15, 2002

JIM McNANNAY of Woodburn, retired business manager of Portland-based Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1, has entered Labor's Hall of Fame. He was selected for the honor by the Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council, the Hall's sponsor.

The Labor Retirees Council, which is an affiliate of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC) of the AFL-CIO, started the Labor Hall of Fame in 1997 to honor retired unionists for their achievements. The retirees meet monthly in the NOLC boardroom at 1125 SE Madison Street, Portland.

McNannay, now 63, retired in 1994 as the leader of Oregon Bricklayers Local 1, and was succeeded by John Mohlis, who continues as the union's business manager.

THE NEW MEMBER of Labor's Hall of Fame still serves as president of the Oregon-Washington-Idaho Conference of Bricklayers. He's led the three-state organization since 1980. Jim's also still a trustee for his union's health and welfare and pension plans.

McNannay devotes time to the LINK Community Development Corporation, a labor-involved non-profit program providing suburban rental apartments for retirees and contemporary urban living in the Old Town Lofts in northwest Portland. Jim's on LINK's board of directors.

Retirement for McNannay includes a busy whirl of pursuits that he carried over from his recreation activity in his working years. He likes to ski, and he enjoys snowmobiling, one of his favorite spots for the latter sport being Idaho's Island Park gateway to Yellowstone National Park. As often as he can he rides his motorcycle to the big annual bikers' rallies in Sturgis, South Dakota, north of Rapid City on the state's western side. A spectator sport he watches are the race car speed trials on the Bonneville Salt Flats near the Great Salt Lake.

HE STILL RACES his 1934 Ford outlaw hardtop on dirt tracks in Cottage Grove and elsewhere in Oregon. On his acreage near Woodburn, north of Salem, he keeps two quarter horses. He does most of his horseback riding on a trail system near Molalla.

More than 230 people attended McNannay's 1994 retirement dinner at the Western Forestry Center on SW Canyon Road, where he was hailed for his leadership, integrity, dedication to his trade and the labor movement, and cited for his contract negotiating prowess. At the event, an employer said the hourly package of wages and fringe benefits for Local 1's bricklayers had climbed by 409 percent in the 23 years since McNannay began working full time for the union in 1971 when he was elected recording secretary/treasurer. He became Local 1's financial secretary and business manager in 1977.

McNannay entered the bricklaying trade after working a while for an electrical manufacturing company following a tour of duty in the United States Army which included service in Germany. He finished his apprenticeship in l963 and was elected to the union's executive board in 1966.

DURING HIS WORKING YEARS, McNannay held offices in the Columbia-Pacific and Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Councils and also represented Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 as a delegate to Northwest Oregon Labor Council meetings and to conventions of the Bricklayers International Union and of the Oregon AFL-ClO. And he served on the board of directors of the Union Labor Retirement Association, which built the Union Manor apartment complexes.

WHILE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., for a National Building Trades Legislative Conference, McNannay was among those who witnessed President Ronald Reagan being wounded by gunfire as he left after speaking to the conference on March 30, 1981. Upon his return to Portland, McNannay recounted the shooting to Frank Flori of the Labor Press, who wrote that McNannay had left the hotel auditorium to watch President Reagan's departure, "stationing himself on a walkway about 15 feet above the VIP driveway outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, where the presidential limousine was parked."

From that vantage point, McNannay saw the shooting take place below in which John W. Hinckley Jr. of Colorado shot and wounded President Reagan, White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer. The gunman was grabbed by a building trades delegate from Ohio who held him momentarily until a D.C. policeman and Secret Service agent grabbed him. McNannay told Flori that the president might not have been exposed to the gunfire had his limousine been parked at the VIP door from which he exited the hotel instead of in a non-secure area farther up the driveway.

JAMES DUANE McNANNAY WAS BORN in Portland on Aug. 15, 1938. He graduated from Central Catholic High School, to which he transferred after attending the old Columbia Prep School until it closed.

Jim has two daughters, a son and four grandchildren. Denise and her husband live in Malibu, Calif., Patty and her family live down the road from her father's place, and Dennis and his family live in Portland.

*** MARY PILEGGI, the longtime bookkeeper at the Oregon AFL-CIO headquarters in Salem, has retired. She had worked there for 24 years and belongs to Office and Professional Employees Local 11.

Her employment by the state labor federation began on Feb. 2, 1978 when Robert G. Kennedy was its president, and Glenn (Pat) Randall was secretary-treasurer. Succeeding officers were Irv Fletcher, president, and Robert Baugh, secretary-treasurer. The next changes saw Steve Socotch as secretary-treasurer, followed by Brad Witt, who still holds that office. Fletcher was succeeded as president by Tim Nesbitt, who still is the federation's leader. Nesbitt and Witt marked Mrs. Pileggi's retirement by taking her and the rest of the staff to lunch.

MRS. PILEGGI helped register thousands of delegates to conventions of the Oregon AFL-CIO, working behind the counter of the registration desk along with others from the staffs of the state labor federation and Northwest Oregon Labor Council, plus retired Local 11 members. Mary has three sons, Thomas, Richard and Joseph; a daughter, Angela; and eight grandchildren. Another son, Stephen, died in 1985.

*** THE OREGON "No Call" law has been in the news recently because State Attorney General Hardy Myers has been cracking down on commercial firms that violate the law by placing sales solicitation calls to households that pay to be on the No Call list.

However, a telephone customer who has been on the list since its beginning told the NW Labor Press that mail from the Oregon No Call residential program comes not from Salem, Oregon, but from Albany, Georgia! The Labor Press reader's renewal notice came from Albany, Georgia, last year and this year.

The reader wonders if Albany, Ga., is the site of a Georgia prison and if the names and addresses of Oregon's No Call members are being handled by convict labor.

*** WHEN THE NATIONAL MEDIA reported on the Bush Administration's post-9/11 "shadow government" at underground facilities in Pennsylvania or thereabouts, a Biblical passage from Ecclesiastes came to mind: "There is no new thing under the sun." In the late 1940s when I was working on a Midwestern newspaper, the local congressman confided to the publisher that the Truman Administration and Congress had established an underground headquarters in West Virginia where governmental decision-makers could work and live in the event of a Cold War nuclear attack by Stalin's Soviet Union. According to the Associated Press, that facility "is now a tourist site rented out for theme parties."


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