October 6, 2006 Volume 107 Number 19
  The Bus Driver
TriMet retiree Ben Fain gets behind the wheel again for the cause.

New Yorker pours millions into Oregon ballot measures
Out-of-state money has made itself felt in Oregon politics before, but a pair of ballot measures up for a vote this November has Oregonians wondering about how thoroughly their citizen initiative process can be hijacked to serve a private agenda.
NLRB ruling changes definition of supervisor, unions will be hit hard
The National Labor Relations Board voted 3-2 to slash long-time federal labor laws protecting workers’ freedom to form unions, and opened the door for employers to classify millions of workers as supervisors. Under federal labor law, supervisors are prohibited from forming unions.

Richmond Baking workers approve first union contract
Workers at a small industrial bakery in McMinnville approved their first-ever union contract Sept. 26 — nine months after they voted to join the Bakers Local 114. Unionizing meant dignity, improved safety and a pay raise for the 11 employees It also takes pressure off union workers at a larger facility in Indiana.

Labor ponders which direction AOI will go
Jay Clemens, the newly installed president of Oregon's most prominent business lobby is a longtime Oklahoma business leader who helped pass a so-called "right-to-work" law in that state, to the dismay of organized labor. But Clemens and several Oregon labor leaders say they're hopeful business and labor will continue have a respectful relationship.
Congress poised to cut education, labor, human services
The U.S. Labor and Education Departments and Head Start are going to get their budgets cut again — if and when the Republican-led Congress moves ahead with an appropriations bill that has been dormant since July. In anticipation of the cuts, the Oregon Employment Department closed the downtown Portland employment office and planned to cut 82 positions over the next year.

UFCW leaflets new nonunion grocer
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 picketed the Sept. 20 grand opening of Save-A-Lot at 6828 SE Foster Road in Portland. The discount grocer plans to open 25 to 30 stores in the Pacific Northwest over the next year. None of its 1,154 stores, most in the Midwest, are unionized.

Longtime Carpenters leader Jim Bledsoe dies of cancer at 73
The International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners lost a longtime leader with the death of James S. Bledsoe on Sept. 9 in Longview, Wash., following a 10-year battle with cancer. He was 73.

Crew at Thompson Metal Fab kept tram construction on schedule
Months before the Portland Aerial Tram became visible from Interstate 5, a 100-person crew in Vancouver, Wash., was working around the clock fabricating the steel components for the upper station tower at Oregon Health and Science University and the intermediate tower located off SW Macadam Ave., in Portland.

Think again
By Tim Nesbitt
The ‘monkey in the middle’- class squeeze
Being middle class these days is like being stuck in a game of ‘monkey in the middle,’ in which the rich get all the tax breaks and the poor get all the services, and we’re stuck between them playing by the rules and never getting our hands on the ball.