Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

October 17, 1997

THE OREGON Coast Aquarium's star boarder, Keiko, the movie star killer whale, gobbles news space and TV time as fast as he feasts on fish. The most famous whale since Moby Dick is the centerpiece of a financial tug-of-war between his owner, the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, and the aquarium at Newport. The two organizations lobbed press releases at each other over the physical condition and eventual release of the 20-year-old Keiko, who's 21-feet long and hits 9,500 in what sportswriters used to call the Toledo League, using the brand name that was the tops in scales.

KEIKO'S HABITAT at the Newport aquarium is a 150-foot-long pool built just for him and paid for with some of the more than $7 million contributed by corporations, organizations, and individuals, including school children.

The donations also paid for Keiko's move from Mexico nearly two years ago. That was one time when the U.S. came out ahead in a NAFTA import deal. Although the North American Free Trade Agreement has cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, Keiko has generated jobs in Newport. It's estimated that the orca orchestrated a tourism bonanza of 1.3 million visitors in 1996 who spent $70 million.

THE BOTTOM LINE, as the TV newsies like to say, is how come the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation hasn't registered as either a non-profit or a for-profit organization with the State of Oregon? A check by the NW Labor Press of state public records failed to turn up the foundation’s name in either category.

THE RECENT GRAND OPENING of a labor-sponsored low-income apartment project in Pendleton brought out one legislator with a voting record solidly against labor, based on the Oregon AFL-CIO's scorecard on the 1997 Oregon Legislature.

State Senator Dave Nelson, a Pendleton Republican, was one of the elected officials on hand for the Hailey Place Apartments celebration last month. The state AFL-CIO said he had a zero voting record on legislation important to working people and their families.

He voted to dismantle the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. He voted to repeal the eight-hour workday. He voted to privatize the Department of Motor Vehicles. He voted to let farm workers be fired for trying to talk to their bosses about sorry wages and working conditions. He voted to undercut the minimum wage increase approved by Oregonians in the 1996 general election. His other "wrong" votes included opposition to a bill that would have funded road, highway and bridge maintenance, expansion of high-speed rail and transportation services for seniors and disabled persons.

With that kind of disdain for workers, why'd Nelson show up at the dedication of labor-sponsored housing for low-income people?

WILLIAM HENRY CURL urges unions and their members to ask U.S. senators and representatives to support House Resolution 950—the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act.

Curl, a retired member of Pile Drivers, Divers and Shipwrights Local 2416, said HR 950 was introduced in Congress earlier this year by U.S. Representative Matthew Martinez, a Democrat of Alhambra, Calif. Curl reported that the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs said of HR 950:

"...The need for the Martinez Jobs Bill has become more urgent. The destruction of the welfare safety net has created an emergency crisis nationwide. Hundreds of thousands will lose welfare benefits with an insufficient number of good-paying jobs to meet the demand. It is in this context that the passage of the Martinez Jobs Bill with massive public works jobs at a living wage has become the emergency solution to the most challenging problem of the nation.

"AN ORGANIZED CAMPAIGN for the bill will challenge the workfare dead-end solution which increasingly moves in the direction of anti-labor policy. Workfare jobs do not provide wages which will take welfare recipients out of poverty and these jobs are now being used to replace union workers..."

The labor coalition explained HR 950 this way:

* $250 billion for jobs and restoring infrastructure—public works projects and community projects including schools, housing, hospitals, parks, bridges, highways and environmental improvements.

* The bill includes Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, equal opportunity employment, job safety provisions and union apprenticeship training for young workers.

IN OREGON, HR 950 has been endorsed by the Portland-based Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Jobs with Justice, the Rainbow Coalition, the state Democratic Party and the East Side Democratic Club of Portland. Nationwide, dozens of labor organizations including the national AFL-CIO Building Trades Department, Washington State Labor Council and Seattle's King County Labor Council also support it.

EDWARD J. HAWES, retired unionist and Oregon Bureau of Labor official, died at age 91 on Sept. 30 in Portland.

He had retired in 1971 as director of the bureau's Wage and Hour Division. Longtime Labor Commissioner Norman O. Nilsen appointed Hawes, who had previously worked as a union representative for the Retail Clerks, now part of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

A native Portlander, Hawes was born Sept. 4, 1906. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II as a chief warrant officer in the 70th Infantry Division, known as the "Trail Blazers."

ACTIVE IN THE Urban League, he was chairman of the Portland chapter in the late 1960s and also served on the board of Catholic Charities. He lived on SE Peacock Lane, where all homes are brightly decorated for the Christmas season, drawing sightseers by the thousands. He entertained children by dressing as Santa at Christmas and as a bunny at Easter.

His funeral service was held Oct. 6 at St. Stephen's Catholic Church, with burial at Willamette National Cemetery.

Survivors include his wife, the former Dorothy Freeman, whom he married in 1939; a brother John in Lincoln City, and several nieces and nephews.

WAYNE TURNER of St. Helens, a former state legislator and local union president, died at age 80 on Oct. 3.

As a Democratic state representative, Turner represented Columbia County in the Oregon Legislature in the 1950s and '60s, and chaired the House Labor Committee.

Turner was born July 31, 1917 at Canton, Minn. In World War II he served in the U.S. Navy aboard the battleship USS Tennessee. He married Elaine Foss in 1942; she died last April. He also was preceded in death by a daughter, Susan Swardz.

HE HAD RETIRED in 1982 from Boise Cascade’s St. Helens paper mill, where he’d been president of the local union.

Survivors include three sons, Jim of Scappoose, Bob of Nehalem, and David of Beaverton; two daughters, Judy Stull of Ocean Shores, Wash., and Jeanne Palin of Scappoose; two sisters, Winnifred Milne of St. Helens and Anne Kampstra of Preston, Minn; a brother Paul of Scappoose; nine grandchildren and a great-grandson.

His funeral service was held in the St. Helens Elks Lodge with entombment at Columbia Memorial Gardens Mausoleum in Scappoose.


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