Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

July 21, 2000

THERE WERE MANY labor movement leaders who played important roles in the start-up, the growth and the continuity of the Labor Press as members of its board of directors in the newspaper's first century. They are among our very important persons. The paper's first board of control, as it was then called, was comprised of E. Edwards of the Cigar Makers, the president; J.A. Goldrainer of the Barbers; J.A. Bushman of the Millworkers, who was president of the Portland Federated Trades Assembly; John Beigi of the Brewers; George M. Orton of the Pressmen; B. Hesselberg of the Typographers; C.H. Weber of the Clerks; Frank Allert of the Machinists; W.H. Robertson of the Letter Carriers; and August Eachie of the Beer Drivers. They were the founding fathers of what today is the Northwest Labor Press.

A long-serving Labor Press board member was E.J. Stack of Portland Cigar Makers Local 202, who was on the board from 1915 until his death in 1950. He was secretary of the Portland Labor Council in the early 1900s and later was executive secretary-treasurer of the Oregon State Federation of Labor. Another mainstay was A.R. Clayton, a longtime leader of Multnomah Typographical Union No. 58, who was on the Labor Press board from the 1930s until his death in 1967. R.C. Henarie succeeded Clayton as head of Local 58 and on the Labor Press board and was associated with the paper for two decades until he retired.

G.O. HUNTER of Portland-based Electrical Workers Local 125 helped oversee this newspaper from the 1930s to the '50s, and was succeeded by Floyd Parker of Local 125, who served nearly 20 years by the time he stepped down in 1971, and was followed on the board by Jack Kegg, then Local 125's business manager.

A 25-year member of the board was Charles T. Crane, whose tenure covered the years from 1930 to 1955. He was secretary-treasurer of Portland Barbers Local 75 for 35 years. Crane used to admonish shaggy-haired labor council delegates, "You've been carrying the barber's money in your pocket too long!"

SEVEN WOMEN UNIONISTS from Portland Waitresses Local 305 furnished leadership for the Labor Press as board members or trustees for a half-century starting in the 1920s.

First came Agnes Quinn, followed by Mary Todd, Rose Johansen, Alice Wesling, Mary Jackson, May Strand and Ellen Henderson. Local 305 later became part of Local 9 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union when the Culinary Union's four Portland locals merged.

Ben Osborne, the head of Iron Workers Local 29 who also was an international vice president, sat on the Labor Press board for many years starting shortly after the paper's birth. From 1926 until his death in 1938 he was the leader of the Oregon State Federation of Labor, serving as its executive secretary-treasurer. Other Iron Workers who've provided leadership for the paper include LeRoy Worley, a business manager of Local 29 three decades ago who moved up the international ladder to general secretary; Sid Stoddard, business manager of Iron Workers Shopmen's Local 516 who became a general organizer for the international after serving as Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall's Seattle regional director in President Jimmy Carter's Administration; and Tony Mongelli, a retired business manager of Local 516 who currently holds the Labor Press treasurer's post.

FOOD INDUSTRY UNIONISTS who devoted their energies to the Labor Press board included George Lightowler and Gordon Swope of Food and Drug Clerks Local 1092; Keith Jons of United Food and Commercial Workers Local Ten-Eleven; and Ken MacKillop of UFCW Local 555. Gene Pronovost, Local 555 president, currently serves on the board and is the non-profit company's secretary.

Machinist John Petroff, an officer of Willamette Lodge 63 and a business representative of District 24, was a stalwart supporter of the Labor Press throughout his long career in the labor movement. He's the only outgoing director who was accorded emeritus status. George Miller, directing business representative of District 24, succeeded Petroff on the board.

Two Musicians Local 99 presidents who were major chords on the Labor Press board over a span of 40 years were Herman Kenin, a lawyer who went on to become his union's international president in 1958, and Joe Dardis, a popular swing band leader who chaired the board in a genial manner for more than a decade.

COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS LOCAL 7901 provided two outstanding board members in Linda Rasmussen, now a Portland-based international representative, and Gail Rosebrook, office manager of the international's regional headquarters and also a former Local 7901 officer. Local 7901's membership includes former members of Typographical No. 58.

Currently on the board, in addition to the previously mentioned Gene Pronovost and Tony Mongelli, are Chairman Gary D. Kirkland, who's chief executive officer/secretary-treasurer of Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 11 and also an international union vice president; Vice Chair Judy O'Connor, who's executive secretary-treasurer of the Portland-based Northwest Oregon Labor Council and a Local 11 member; and Ed Barnes, retired business manager of Electrical Workers Local 48, who's still active in the labor movement and in politics.

OVER THE YEARS the century-old Labor Press has been blessed with talented and dedicated employees who contributed mightily to the newspaper's success and longevity. In chronological order they include Alfred D. Cridge, Kelley Loe, Arthur Brock, Emsie Howard, Doris M. Clark, Jean Soderberg Miller, Buford Sommers, Frank Flori, Bob Hulen, Gail Mason Rosebrook, Mary Lyons, Amy Klare, Debbie Sluyter, Patrick Philpott and Bonnie Serino - plus those present-day staff members whose names appeared in the June 2 100th Anniversary Edition.

Appreciation should be accorded also to the highly-esteemed free-lance writers and photographers whose articles, editorials and photos graced the pages of the Labor Press at one time or another in the past century. Chronologically, these have included Colonel C.E.S. Wood, William S. U'Ren, Jane Goodsell, Fred Goetz, Tom Scanlon, Jack Rosenthal, George Roe, Ann Beckmann and Neil Heilpern.


ED J. STACK of Cigar Makers Local 202, mentioned earlier as having served on the Labor Press Board from 1915 to 1950, set a record for longevity because that's longer than anyone else has been on the board. Stack, 75 years old when he died on Nov. 30, 1950, had led an eventful life. He was born on his parents' farm in eastern Oregon near Baker City in 1875. His obituary in the Dec. 1, 1950 Oregon Labor Press reported: "As an infant he was hidden by his parents in a field of growing wheat to escape the raids of Chief Joseph, the Indian warrior. As a lad and and young man he rode and roamed the Wallowa mountain trails and mined their minerals."

THE LABOR PRESS, then edited by Gene Allen, described Stack as a tall, quiet man who possessed dignity and good judgment. He'd been a member of the Cigar Makers International Union's Executive Board and was a close friend of Sam Gompers, the Cigar Makers' president who founded the American Federation of labor. Gompers had died in 1924. Stack had been secretary of the Portland Labor Council in the early 1900s and later was secretary-treasurer of the Oregon State Federation of Labor. At the time of his death he was the federation's union label director and was chairman of the Labor Press board.


Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.