May 15, 2009 Volume 110 Number 10

Special delivery

Volunteers John Vandermosten (left) and Sam Smith were among 21 volunteers from the Democratic Party of Multnomah County to sort through food donations at the Gresham Post Office May 9, part of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service. Members of NALC Branch 82 in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties brought in 684,661 pounds of food this year, a 2.5 percent increase from a year ago. Smith is a member of Branch 82 who took time from his vacation to volunteer. Vandermosten is a retired member of IBEW Local 48. The Oregon Food Bank distributes the food.

Nursing home worker fired after joining union campaign
Elizabeth Lehr was well liked by her managers at Laurelhurst Village senior care community. Six months after her summer 2007 hire as a receptionist, Lehr got an “employee of the month” plaque. In March, she got involved in a union campaign. Ten days later, she was fired.
Legislature rattles Washington labor movement
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, is still sifting through the wreckage of its hopes for the 2009 legislative session. Most of labor’s priority bills never got a vote, and in one case, Senate Democrats colluded to prevent a record of how they voted on a bill.

"Buy American" campaign scores local successes

Multnomah County and seven other local governments have pledged to use American-made goods and services when spending grant dollars it receives under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, thanks to resolutions pushed by the United Steel Workers.
Oregon AFL-CIO’s top bill, the Worker Freedom Act, gets shelved in committee
Last week, officials at the Oregon AFL-CIO thought they had enough support in the Oregon Senate to pass one of the federation's top priority bills. The Worker Freedom Act would have made “captive audience” meetings by employers voluntary for certain topics — including union organizing. In other words, employers could not require employees to come to meetings and listen to their propaganda against unions.
Champions of single payer health care meet in Portland
Mark Dudzic, national organizer for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare, held a strategy session May 6 with a group of Portland union activists. The visit was part of a West Coast tour promoting labor support for the universal health coverage plan proposed by Rep. John Conyers of Detroit.

Union members running for seats in May 19 special election

Local unions hope to get some of their own elected in Oregon’s May 19 special election, which fills low-profile non-partisan positions like school boards and port commissions.