Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

July 19, 2002

TOM WORLEY, 67, a retired leader of Portland Iron Workers Local 29, has stepped into the Labor Hall of Fame on a door-opening election by the sponsoring Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council, an affiliate of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

The retirees meet monthly in the NOLC boardroom at 1125 SE Madison St., Portland.

Worley retired in 1993 as business agent and financial secretary-treasurer of Local 29. The union's building is at 6701 SE Foster Road, Portland.

THOMAS J. WORLEY was born in Seattle on Jan. 22, 1935 and moved to Portland with his family when he was in the first grade. He attended Central Catholic High School in Southeast Portland, then enlisted in the United States Navy in the Korean War era. He served as a bosun's mate and spent 18 months on a ship in wartime waters off the coast of Korea in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan in the Far Eastern reaches of the Pacific Ocean.

Worley began his career in the Iron Workers Union when he entered its apprenticeship program on Sept. 1, 1958. Fellow apprentices included his brother Bob and Gordon Jensen, who became a friend and later held the presidency of Local 29 and was an assistant business agent. The three men who started their careers on the same day in 1958 all retired from Local 29 on the same day, Jan. 8, 1993. When they started, the building trades held their apprenticeship classes in the old Beach School in Northeast Portland.

WORLEY'S FIRST JOB was working for Mercer Steel on the construction of the Lloyd Center shopping mall in Northeast Portland. Working with him were his brother Bob and Jensen. Later on, Worley helped build overpasses on Interstate Highway 84 from Portland to Baker City in Eastern Oregon. He installed rebar on Interstate Highway 5 down to the California border. He helped build the Interstate Bridge connecting Vancouver, Washington, and Portland across the Columbia River; and he was the general foreman for Murphy Pacific on the construction of the Fremont Bridge over the Willamette River.

Other major construction projects in his career included the Oxbow, Hells Canyon, John Day and Green Peter dams. He also worked on paper mill remodeling jobs and installed a furnace at the Oregon Steel Mills.

ALL THE WHILE, Worley took an active role in his union, Iron Workers Local 29. He served on the Executive Board, the Examining Board; was vice president of Local 29 and was president of the Iron Workers Credit Union. Tom worked as an assistant business agent for nine years while his brother LeRoy was the business agent and financial secretary-treasurer - a post that's also called business manager. Tom's service for Local 29 included being a trustee on the health and welfare and pension plans; being a delegate to the Northwest District Council of Iron Workers, the Oregon AFL-CIO and the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, and holding the presidency of the Pendleton Building Trades Council.

After LeRoy Worley moved up to the post of international representative, Tom later was elected as Local 29's business manager. For most of his six years in that job he chaired the union's pension trust fund.

FOR MANY YEARS Worley has enjoyed fishing and hunting sojourns to an A-frame cabin he built on the Imnaha River in the mountains about 60 miles north of Baker City. Golf is another recreational pursuit, as is teaching the rudiments of fishing to his grandchildren.

Tom and his wife, the former Unette E. Jessup, have two daughters, Unette Marie and Mary Ann; two sons, Tom Jr. and Douglas; and six grandchildren. The sons are members of Iron Workers Local 29.

Like a number of other union members, Tom is a member of the Gateway Elks Lodge.


BOOZE INDUSTRY LOBBYISTS and those Oregon state legislators who kowtow to them have kept the Beaver State's taxes on alcoholic beverages among the lowest in the United States.

While the taxes on booze are kept low, Oregon's public schools are suffering, public services are being slashed, and the hunger rate of Oregon's children is one of the highest in the nation.

When the booze lobbyists and their legislative pals die, their tombstones should be engraved with this epitaph: "He (or she) kept booze taxes low." That way future Oregonians (including their grandchildren) will know that is about all those highly-paid lobbyists and their legislative lemmings accomplished in their lifetimes.


THANKS WERE EXPRESSED by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, based in Tigard, to the members of PACE Local 8-1097 in Westport for a generous contribution of $8,340 to the Local 555 members who had been on strike at the Bon Marchˇ store in Kelso, Washington. Ed Clay, Local 555's secretary-treasurer, said that the support from other unions "was a boost not only to our morale but also our pocketbooks." Clay called the help from other unions "Solidarity in Kelso."


THE LABOR NOTES newsletter of Detroit, Michigan, has reported that "Mexico expelled Evergreen College Professor Dan Leahy and 17 students from the country for marching on May Day and supporting peasants from San Salvador Atenco who are fighting to keep their land from being expropriated for a new airport. In response to the deportations, peasant activists blocked highways and several teacher and university unions protested. Leahy has helped build links between teachers unions in Canada, Mexico and the U. S." The Evergreen State College is in Olympia, Washington.


THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR filed this report from the pill front:

"Pharmaceutical companies are estimated to have spent nearly $16 billion in 2000 on drug samples given to doctors by 83,000 traveling salesmen (and saleswomen), on honoraria and gifts to physicians, and on televised and other advertising. Unwillingly, that budget is going down.

"On June 13, Vermont became the first state to require drug company sales representatives to report all gifts to doctors - including free pills - worth more than $25 a year. Other states are catching on, and even the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America, the drug industry's largest association, will sign off this month on a 'voluntary' code supposed to limit influence-peddling through gratuities to doctors, which have included trips to lavish resorts."


FROM THE AFL-CIO'S "America@Work" magazine comes these reports under the headline Websightings:

www.gopetition.com - Visitors can sign a petition supporting Wal-Mart workers' efforts to win a voice at work. The site links to the Las Vegas and national Wal-Mart organizing campaigns at www.walmartworkerslv.com, where viewers can read the latest news on the Wal-Mart struggle, download flyers and other information and locate organizing campaigns by the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters at Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs.

www.globalexchange.org - Global Exchange's Website provides information on campaigns for workers' rights in the coffee and banana industries, and details campaigns around corporate accountability, the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In its latest effort, the non-profit Global Exchange seeks to convince M&M/Mars to use fair-trade-certified cocoa beans to help end the use of child and slave labor in West African nations.


Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.