October 5, 2007 Volume 108 Number 19

Conversion to renewable energy generating jobs
A worldwide shift toward renewable energy is under way, fueled by rising gas prices and growing concern about global warming. And far from the job-killer that people once feared, the conversion is generating good-paying construction, manufacturing and utility jobs.

[Left, Brian Crise, solar instructor at the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center, has trained over 400 journeymen electricians in solar technology.]

Metro councilors vote themselves 16 percent raises
In contract negotiations, Metro told American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3580 that raises of more than 2.7 percent weren’t affordable. But then Sept. 27 their bosses — the elected Metro councilors — voted unanimously to give themselves a 16 percent raise while union members carrying signs looked on.

SEIU leader considers run for attorney general
Alice Dale, president of Portland-based SEIU Local 49, is considering a run for attorney general of Oregon. Hardy Myers, the current attorney general, announced he will not seek another term, and two candidates have so far filed to run for the office.

U.S.-Peru trade pact gets mixed reaction from labor
Congress is on track to approve a foreign trade agreement that, for the first time ever, contains enforceable workers' rights protections. That's something the union movement has been demanding for years, and yet the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement has gotten mixed reactions from U.S. unions.

Steelworkers target Home Depot stores in solidarity with striking B.C. workers
The United Steelworkers demonstrated at Home Depot stores in Sherwood and Albany, Oregon, Sept. 29 in support of striking forestry workers in British Columbia, Canada. It was one of more than 150 similar events held that day in the U.S. and Canada.
School custodian gets settlement check, but not closure
Five years, one month and 15 days after her last work day, Elaine Smith got her last paycheck. Smith, 55, is one of about 320 union custodians who were fired by Portland Public Schools in 2002 when the School Board decided to outsource its custodial department. Thanks to the out-of-court settlement to a class-action lawsuit, on Sept. 15 she found a pair of checks in her Southeast Portland mailbox.
UFCW backs Merkley for Senate
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555, Oregon's largest private-sector union, has endorsed Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley's bid for the U.S. Senate. The Democratic primary isn't until May 2008, but campaigning has begun early in an effort to unseat Republican incumbent Gordon Smith.

Kucinich, Edwards will pay visit to Oregon AFL-CIO convention
Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio, has been added to the lineup of speakers at this year's Oregon AFL-CIO convention.

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