April 18, 2008 Volume 109 Number 7
Labor will honor Oregon workers killed on the job
Workers Memorial Day, April 28, is a day to remember workers killed on the job. Last year, 59 workers were killed on the job in Oregon. The Northwest Oregon Labor Council will conduct a memorial service immediately following its monthly delegates meeting Monday, April 28.
Oregon hashing out details of universal health insurance requirement
For several months, six citizen committees have been hammering out a complicated plan to provide health insurance to uninsured Oregonians — all 600,000 of them. Organized labor is well represented on the committees, which the Oregon Legislature authorized in June 2007 when it passed Senate Bill 329. If all goes according to plan, Oregon could have something like universal health coverage as of 2010. But a great many details of how the program will work are still up in the air.
NAFTA-style deal with Colombia taken off fast track
President Bush announced plans April 7 to force a vote on a controversial free trade treaty with Colombia. But Colombia’s human rights record and voter anxiety about a recession emboldened Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to turn the tables on the president. Pelosi led the House to dump a "fast track" rule that would have required a quick vote on the treaty. Democratic House leaders — and local members of Congress — remain divided on whether to support the treaty.
Asbestos continues to sicken, kill U.S. workers
As a career interior decorator, Marilyn Stratton of Beaverton, Oregon, was used to carrying heavy samples of rugs, tiles, wallpaper, carpets, and catalogs that showcased the tools of her trade. A workaholic, even at age 73, Stratton seemingly was always on the go. Until the onset of summer 2006, when she began experiencing pain in her chest.
War protest May 1 could shut down ports
A rumor has been flying that longshore workers are going to stop work May 1 to call for the immediate, safe return of U.S. troops in Iraq. It's based on fact. At its Feb. 8 meeting, the longshore caucus of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) debated and adopted a resolution calling for an eight-hour stop-work meeting May 1 at ports in California, Oregon, and Washington, at which members would have a chance to speak out in opposition to the war.
Bus drivers’ union steers industry toward healthier workplace
Driving a bus might not be top of the list when most people think of hazardous occupations. But it turns out driving a city bus eight or 10 hours a day can be one of the most dangerous jobs, from the standpoint of chronic health conditions. Much of it comes down to an inability to take bathroom breaks, constant stress, and the day-in, day-out vibration of operating a heavy motor vehicle.
Proposed Worker Memorial slowed by hefty fee requirement
An effort by the Oregon AFL-CIO to a establish a permanent memorial at the State Capitol to honor workers killed on the job has hit one bureaucratic roadblock after another. The most recent is a $28,000 “management service fee” the Department of Administrative Services wants before a “Fallen Worker Memorial” can be placed near the main entrance to the Labor and Industries Building on the Capitol Mall.
Highly profitable steel mill asks workers to take wage freeze
Cascade Steel Rolling Mills is doing well. Production and sales are setting records, and with steel prices up about $80 a ton, earnings are up by almost half since a year ago. So what was the company’s proposal to its union workers March 31? A wage freeze.
Plumbers apprentice coordinator Bob Kimes retires; Mike Pollock will succeed him
Bob Kimes has retired as apprenticeship coordinator for the Plumbers and Fitters Local 290 Training Center after 17 years at the helm. Succeeding him is assistant coordinator Mike Pollock.