April 4, 2008 Volume 109 Number 7
Boycott of downtown Portland Hilton Hotel picks up steam
The union boycott of the Portland Hilton Hotel & Executive Tower has picked up momentum in recent months. Five months in, UNITE HERE's boycott campaign is beginning to shine a light on who labor's friends are. The Democratic Party of Oregon told the Hilton it won’t schedule events or hotel stays this year if the hotel doesn’t reach agreement with the union by April 15. Based on previous campaign years, that could cost the Hilton $600,000 in lost business.
National health care may be on the horizon
Next year could be the year Congress passes some kind of major national health care reform. Two health reform bills already in Congress have substantial backing, and each major party candidate for president has a set of health care reform proposals. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are pushing piecemeal steps to universal care, while Republican John McCain is proposing to eliminate employer-paid coverage.
Colombia Free Trade Agreement expected to get vote in Congress
A NAFTA-style treaty with Colombia is expected to get a vote in Congress in the next few months, even though the Democratic House and Senate leadership have said they oppose it.
May '08 primary: Labor weighs in
AFL-CIO issues endorsements in races for attorney general and U.S. Congress
Meeting March 27, the Oregon AFL-CIO's Committee on Political Education met the two-thirds majority threshold to endorse John Kroger for Oregon attorney general and Kurt Schrader for the Congressional seat being vacated by Darlene Hooley. The federation also made recommendations in Oregon House and Senate races, but stayed out of the race for Oregon secretary of state.
Building trades union council endorses Gordon Smith in primary
Oregon U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith has been endorsed in the Republican primary by the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council. The group took no action in the Democratic primary because building trades unions are upset with the two Democratic candidates, who oppose construction of liquefied natural gas plants in Oregon.
Northwest Oregon Labor Council supports Sam Adams for Portland mayor
Northwest Oregon Labor Council is endorsing Sam Adams, the front-running candidate for mayor, who also is backed by AFSCME, the Teamsters, and UFCW. NOLC also issued endorsements in other local races at its March 24 meeting.
In race for Oregon attorney general, labor on both sides
While most unions are backing John Kroger, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555 is endorsing Kroger's opponent Greg Macpherson.
Card-check union campaigns aren’t flooding Oregon with new members
In the 2007 session of the Oregon Legislature, probably the most celebrated labor movement win was something called “card check” for public employees. Under the law, the workers get union representation when a majority sign union authorization cards. But nine months after the law took effect, just 11 workers have become union members through that process. And judging by the experience of pro-union workers at a Northwest Oregon utility, the new law won’t always work the way its backers hoped.
Kitzhaber asks unions to help reform U.S. health care system
Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber asked delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council March 24 to get involved with him to change the way health care is delivered in the United States.
Working America expands in Oregon
Six nights a week between now and November, a crew of 20 or more paid canvassers will be knocking on doors in Oregon to extend the political reach of the union movement. The canvassers are signing people up as members of Working America, a five-year-old “community affiliate” of the AFL-CIO. By the end of March, the three-year-old Oregon chapter counted 52,000 members, and that number is growing by 2,000 a week.
Elevator Constructors Local 23 returns Regalado to top leadership position
Portland-based Elevator Constructors Local 23 elected Frank Regalado business representative, the local's top job. Regalado was business representative of the local from 1997 to 2003, when he was defeated by Casley. Seven months into his second term, Casley resigned. Regalado was appointed interim business representative until the election. Casley ran for and won the office of president.