Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

November 6, 1998

THE NORTHWEST OREGON Labor Retirees Council has honored Jim and Pat Beyer by selecting the Portland couple for Labor's Hall of Fame.

The Retirees Council, affiliated with the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO, set up its Labor Hall of Fame in 1997 to honor retired workers for their contributions to the union movement.

James N. Beyer, now 76, served as secretary-treasurer of Office and Professional Employees Local 11 from 1953 until 1966. He had joined the Portland-based local when he was employed by Consolidated Freightways. After illness caused him to leave the Local 11 post, he later worked for two delivery companies until retiring 12 years ago. He now suffers from lupus.

Patricia Beyer, 74, also retired 12 years ago, following a career as a computer operator at the headquarters in southeast Portland of the Fred Meyer supermarket chain. In her job, she was a member of Teamsters Local 223, which represents office, technical, medical and public employees. She's now a member of the Teamster Retirees.

JIM AND PAT were married in Seattle in 1947 after they had graduated from the University of Oregon in Eugene, where they met. Both were born in Washington, Pat in Yakima, Jim in Camas. After they wed they traveled throughout Denmark, exploring the Scandinavian homeland of Jim's parents on bicycles. In their 51 years of marriage, they've also traveled throughout the United States.

Jim and Pat have two sons, Marc and Tim; a grandson and a great-grandson. Tim is a member of Portland Carpenters Local 247.

The Beyers have lived in their Lents District home in southeast Portland for 43 years. Active in neighborhood, civic and political organizations, they've been members of the Gray Panthers, East Side Democratic Club, Lents Neighborhood Association, plus other groups, including ROSE, which stands for Revitalize Outer South East. They said ROSE builds non-profit apartments for low-income workers. They help out every August at a neighborhood celebration in Lents Park. And they're leaders in Neighborhood Watch, which provides safe havens for children.

AS NEIGHBORHOOD ACTIVISTS, Pat and Jim campaigned successfully decades ago for installation of street lights and intersection stop signs. More recently, they've played catalyst roles in ridding their neighborhood of drug dealers and a child molester. "We like to keep the neighborhood livable," Pat said. "I've always been active in doing things. My grandmother in Seattle taught me that people are not going to change, that you have to help them change."

Prior to last Tuesday's election, the double corner lot where the Beyer home stands was bedecked with political signs promoting Tanya Collier for Portland city commissioner, John Kitzhaber for re-election as governor, and Ron Wyden for re-election to the U.S. Senate.


THOMAS J. (JACK) BAKER, a retired leader of the Portland area central labor council and the Barbers Union, died on Oct. 8 at age 84.

A Portland native, he was born on April 20, 1914. Upon graduating from Jefferson High School, he took up the barbering trade, following in the footsteps of his father and an older brother.

From 1933 to 1953 he operated his own shop on the comer of NE Alberta Street and Union Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard). He was elected to his first union office in 1937 when he became sergeant-at-arms of Barbers Local 75, which has since become part of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.

Governor Paul Patterson appointed Baker as secretary-treasurer of the Oregon Board of Barber Examiners in 1953. During his term of office he was elected by his peers as president of the National Association of Barber Examiners.

BAKER'S LEADERSHIP ABILITIES gained him election by Elks Lodge 142 as its grand exalted ruler in the mid-1950s, and he later chaired its board of trustees.

In 1959 Baker left his state post upon being elected secretary-treasurer of Barbers Local 75 to succeed crusty Charlie Crane, who died in office after leading the local more than 30 years. Crane was known for telling labor council delegates in need of a haircut, "You've carried the barber's money in your pocket too long."

As head of Local 75, Baker launched an organizing campaign that soon increased the union's membership. Later he established the first union-sponsored hair styling class in the U.S. for journeyman barbers to keep them abreast of the changing times. Baker also busied himself in the Indianapolis-headquartered International Union of Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists. His leadership qualities were soon recognized and he was elected first vice president. At one point, when financial turmoil forced the international president to resign, Baker went to Indianapolis and took over the presidency on a temporary basis. He did not seek election as president because he preferred to live in Portland.

Baker relinquished the Local 75 job in 1967 when he was elected to fill a vacancy as executive secretary-treasurer of the Multnomah County Labor Council (now the Northwest Oregon Labor Council). He held the MCLC office until his retirement in January 1981. Among his many duties, Baker represented the Barbers and later the MCLC as a trustee of their shares at annual meetings of the non-profit Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co.

AFTER HIS RETIREMENT, Baker and his wife, the former Vivian F. St. Clair, traveled extensively. They had been married since 1933. She died in 1994.

Survivors include a daughter, Sally Nicholson of Sandy; sons Jack of Las Vegas and Bill of Thailand; 13 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

His funeral was held Oct. 20 at the Sandy Funeral Home with burial at Fir Hill Cemetery.


FIRST LADY Hillary Rodham Clinton was declared Woman of the Year for 1998 by the Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council, an action that was ratified by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO. The resolution was forwarded to the Oregon AFL-CIO for its concurrence.

Written by Dean Mickels, the resolution hailed President Bill Clinton's wife for her support for children, senior citizens and trade union principles, and called her "a force for progressive good in our society."

Mickels, a retired member of Multnomah County Employees Local 88, is a former president of that union and also of the Oregon State Industrial Union Council.


PEAS IN A POD - Republican Kevin Mannix of Salem hired union-basher William Lee Sizemore's signature-gathering corporation, I&R Petition Services, Inc. of Clackamas, to collect signatures for ill-fated Ballot Measure 61, which the Oregon Supreme Court said did not obtain enough John and Joan Hancocks to qualify for the Nov. 3 general election ballot. The $85,000 paid by attorney-legislator Mannix's Justice for All Political Action Committee came from none other than deep-pockets Loren Parks of a posh Hillsboro precinct who gets most of his mail at his non-union medical equipment manufacturing plant in Aloha. Measure 61 was the latest effort by Parks, Mannix and their cohorts to force the state to build more prisons. Measure 61 called for stiffer penalties on property crime perpetrators.


NOTE OF THANKS: I want to thank the Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council for adding my name to its Labor Hall of Fame.


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