November 4, 2005  Volume 106 Number 21

Union publicizes Wal-Mart workers' skimpy health plan
To pressure the U.S.' largest and most virulently anti-union employer, UFCW has launched a major holiday drive criticizing Wal-Mart.

[Left: A police officer asks union members to move their Halloween candy sale table, set up in front of a Wal-Mart store in Southeast Portland.]

Mehrens to retire as building trades leader
Wally Mehrens, longtime executive secretary-treasurer of the Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council, announced that he will retire after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

School district in Sandy forces strike in attempt to bust teachers union
As of press time, 216 teachers were out on strike, and over 4,000 schoolchildren and their parents were waiting to go back to school, but at the Oregon Trail School District in Sandy, Boring and Welches, Oregon, management was playing games.

Union workers at Portland Water Bureau at work rebuilding New Orleans
When the call for help went out following Hurricane Katrina, the City of Portland stepped up like no other. Portland sent a convoy of equipment and 35 people for 30 days to help the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board get its system back up and running.
Senator Smith supports minimum wage bill that would hurt lowest-paid workers
Oregon Republican U.S. Senator Gordon Smith voted against a federal minimum wage proposal Oct. 19 that would not have affected his lowest-paid constituents, but later that same day he voted in support of an amendment that would have severely impacted their pay.

AFSCME lobbyist Botkin proposes to change hats
Longtime union lobbyist Mary Botkin has resolved to take a new approach to politics. After 20 years as an advocate for Oregon Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Botkin, 57, is running as a Democrat for election to the Oregon House of Representatives from House District 46.

Union officials share insights on AFL-CIO breakup
Lawyers and law students from around the country got an earful about labor's tumult at an Oct. 26-30 conference in Portland.
South Waterfront gets ‘project apprenticeship agreement’
Nearly two years in the making, the Portland Development Commission, Oregon Health and Science University, developers and the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council have finally signed a new "project apprenticeship agreement" on a section of the South Waterfront Central District Project.

SEIU Local 49 members ratify new contract at Legacy Emanuel
Six weeks after they went on strike for 24 hours, support workers at Legacy Emanuel Hospital approved a new union contract by a five-to-one margin. The contract covers about 400 janitors, cafeteria workers, nurse assistants and emergency room aides, members of Service Employees International Union Local 49.

Hillsboro school employees reject outsourcing plan
Unionized support workers at Hillsboro Public School District 1J sent a message to the district: They will not be divided. By a two-to-one margin, they voted down a district contract offer that would have allowed management to contract-out the jobs of 56 custodians, and would have required about a third of new hires to pay a portion of their health care premiums.

Portland Public Schools files legal charges against unions
Portland Public Schools filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Oregon Employment Relations Board Oct. 20 alleging that two District Council of Unions sub-group have refused to honor tentative agreements they signed with the school district.

Labor History panel reports parallels, contrasts between 2005 and 1905
The committee spent months poring over history books, minutes from union meetings and archives of the Portland Labor Press (now the Northwest Labor Press) with their focus on 1905. They presented their findings as the Solidarity News Network, reporting from a time warp that took reporters back 100 years.

NECA-IBEW apprenticeship program ‘rescues’ Parkrose High School students
When Parkrose High School proved to be too small, the National Electrical Contractors Association-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 offered space in its training center for students to take the PSAT.


Think again
A regular column by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tim Nesbitt
What Bill Sizemore taught us
Sizemore's attacks united our unions as nothing had before. The more threats we faced, the more we united and toughened our response. In that sense, Sizemore was the perfect "good enemy."


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