April 3, 2009 Volume 110 Number 7

Labor protests corporate excess
Corporate excess was the target of two downtown Portland labor protests March 19.

[Left, demonstrators marched to a Key Bank branch, where Portland Jobs With Justice closed its bank account. Key, a recipient of bailout funds, is targeted by labor for its role as lender to union-busting Oak Harbor Freight Lines.]

Schism widens between labor, Washington Democrats
In the state of Washington, a once strong working relationship between organized labor and three top state Democrats has chilled so much, it’s hard to say if Governor Chris Gregoire, House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown can any longer be called “friends of labor.”

Asbestos-related cancer claims labor icon Earl Kirkland

Earl B. Kirkland, a legendary figure in the Oregon labor movement, died at his home in Green Valley, Arizona, March 30 following complications from asbestos-related mesothelioma. He was 82. 
Labor on the scene as Oregon Legislature reaches halfway mark
Leaders and lobbyists from Oregon labor unions are in Salem — supporting, opposing and monitoring a bewildering number of bills that affect union members and working people. The biggest-stakes topic this year is the budget.
More Steelworkers laid off at Cascade Rolling Mills
If there’s a recovery on the way, it’s not yet visible at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills. The rebar-manufacturing plant, which serves as a good bellwether for the construction industry, will lay off 75 more workers, after about 75 were let go in December.
Carpenters Local 247 elects Willie Gore president
Members of Carpenters Local 247 elected Willie Gore to serve the remainder of the term of longtime president Bruce Dennis, who resigned in November. Gore outpolled Christie Kern and Gene Lawhorn for the unpaid position.
Merkley appoints Ed Hall labor liaison
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has hired longtime Fire Fighters Union leader Ed Hall as a staff liaison to organized labor, in order to strengthen outreach efforts to labor groups.

Stacy Breunig tapped administrator of IAM/Boeing Joint Programs
Former Machinists Lodge 63 president Stacy Breunig has been appointed administrator of the IAM/Boeing Joint Programs in Gresham — a labor-management partnership that works to improve the health, safety and educational opportunities for union-represented workers.