December 7, 2007 Volume 108 Number 23

Looking for the UNION LABEL
Outsourcing to low-wage foreign factories has killed U.S. manufacturing of apparel, toys, tools, electronics, housewares … in short, consumer goods of all kinds. In an era when finding the “Made in USA” label in a mall or department store can take hours, finding the union label can be even more daunting.




[Left, AlexSandra, the owner of a clothing store in North Portland, finds the union label on a coat.]

Multnomah ESD classified staff go on strike Nov. 30
Following months of contentious bargaining, about 380 employees of the Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) went on strike Nov. 30 over wages and benefits. The workers are members of AFSCME Local 1995. The two sides met with a state mediator, but the sessions yielded little movement and no agreement. The current contract expired June 30. MESD implemented its final offer Nov. 29.

New teachers union lawsuit says Sizemore continues to commit fraud
Long-time union foe Bill Sizemore appears to have arranged for a shell corporation in Nevada to pay his household $10,000 a month in order to avoid paying a legal settlemen to two unions. Oregon Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon have filed a new lawsuit against Sizemore, and are seeking a contempt of court ruling that could land him in jail up to six months.

Portland school employees getting restless
Portland school board meetings are becoming monthly protest demonstrations. That's because unions representing school bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, school secretaries and educational assistants find themselves in the same boat. All face unacceptable contract proposals by district management.

UNITE HERE Local 9 calls for Hilton boycott
As one of four unionized hotels in the Portland area, the downtown Portland Hilton Hotel and Executive Tower is often favored as a meeting place for union events. But Portland-based UNITE HERE Local 9 has been in bargaining with the Hilton for four months, with little to show for it, the union’s leaders said. On Oct. 26, members voted by 96 percent to authorize a boycott.
Unions join nationwide protest against anti-union NLRB
In ruling after ruling, a three-person majority on the five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken away workers right to unionize and made it easier for employers to fight unionization. To top it off, the NLRB is refusing to negotiate a new contract with a union that represents its own employees.
Oregon AFL-CIO’s Byrd to attend climate change conference in Bali
Oregon AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byrd is part of a delegation of 25 U.S. union leaders attending a conference on climate change Dec. 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia. The conference, organized by the United Nations, is expected to draw close to 100 unionists from around the world.

Labor has voice on panel examining Oregon’s tax system
Several top labor leaders will be part of a discussion of how to overhaul Oregon’s tax system. The 30-member Task Force on Comprehensive Revenue Restructuring, created by the Oregon Legislature earlier this year, will have until Nov. 1, 2008 to develop a proposal for the Legislature’s 2009 session.
NLRB Subregion 36 gets new chief officer
Linda Davidson, longtime agent in the Portland office of the National Labor Relations Board, has been promoted to head Subregion 36, which includes all of Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Fahey to run for seat on Portland City Council
Mike Fahey, a former financial secretary-treasurer of the Portland Metal Trades Council and a former Democratic state representative from North Portland, will throw his hat into a crowded race for an open seat on the Portland City Council. The position is being vacated by Sam Adams, who is running for mayor.

Judy O’Connor, Bob Petroff re-elected at NOLC
Delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council approved new terms for the group's leadership at the council's Nov. 26 meeting. All candidates ran unopposed.

Teamsters’ Lehrbach appointed to TriMet Board of Directors
Teamsters Joint Council No. 37 representative Lynn Lehrbach has been appointed to a four-year term on the TriMet Board of Directors. Lehrbach will represent ’s District 6, which encompasses East Multnomah County. He succeeds Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Guisto. Lehrbach joins Bob Williams, a retired business representative of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, on the Board.

IBEW 48 member named to State Transportation Commission
Phillip Parker, a longtime member of Electrical Workers Local 48, has been appointed to the Washington Transportation Commission by Gov. Chris Gregoire, succeeding Ed Barnes, retired Local 48 business manager.

AFT Local 111 elects new president
Tom Smith was elected president of 1,300-member Portland Federation of Teachers and Classified Employees, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon. He also was elected vice president of the AFT-Oregon Executive Board.

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