February 2, 2007 Volume 108 Number 3

Facing the coming labor shortage
Oregon’s business community is sounding an alarm about a looming shortage in skilled labor, but it’s not clear to what extent government efforts in “workforce development” will be able to solve the problem. Oregon unions, for their part, have been eager and willing to partner in efforts to improve worker skills, but feel like they too often get left out of plans for workforce training
Union membership in U.S. falls by 326,000
The number of workers in the United States belonging to a union fell by 326,000 in 2006 to 15.4 million — or 12 percent of the workforce — according to the latest statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Movie fictionalizing 1999 WTO protest films for three days in Seattle
Battle In Seattle, a film about the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests, ended up filming for three days in Seattle, and 28 days in Vancouver, British Columbia. In effect, most of the filming and all of the post-film production work was”globalized,” for budget reasons, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Carpenter organizer gets reprieve before deportation
José Cobián, better known to local Carpenters as union organizer José Luis Mendoza, won temporary freedom Jan. 23 when Federal Judge Anna Brown declined to impose house arrest in the weeks before his Feb. 13 immigration hearing.
L.A. lab works to improve odds against asbestos cancer
A promising test under study at the Punch Worthington Research Lab involves identifying evidence of mesothelioma and even asbestos exposure through markers in a person’s exhaled breath or blood.
First U.S.-made streetcars will carry union label
Oregon Iron Works, through its subsidiary United Streetcar, LLC, has secured a $4 million contract to manufacture a prototype streetcar for the City of Portland
Oregon senator helps scuttle minimum wage bill
Oregon U.S. Senator Gordon Smith helped sink a bill in the U.S. Senate Jan. 24 that would have raised the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour in three steps in slightly over two years
PDC Board wants more time to amend new construction wage policy
Plans to amend a two-week-old Portland Development Commission construction wage policy were pushed back by the PDC Board at its Jan. 24 meeting.
Portland Public Schools hires former union official for labor relations job
Tom Gunn, a former grievance director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and a business agent for Oregon Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has been hired as director of labor relations for Portland Public Schools.
Bus strike looms in Corvallis
Corvallis’s transit and school bus drivers turned thumbs down to a proposal by Laidlaw Transit, Inc. that, in effect, would rip up wage gains attained over the past six years.
AFSCME rallies for new contract at Clackamas County
County employees have been working without a contract since June 30, 2006. Bargaining on a new agreement began May 11, but disagreements over health insurance premiums have bogged down talks.
Kaiser gets okay to build new hospital
Kaiser Permanente has received approval from Oregon state regulators to build a $285 million hospital on a 15-acre site in the Tanasbourne area of Washington County

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