June 19, 2009 Volume 110 Number 12

Public employees march
Front-line public employees joined with their allies in a “United for Oregon” march June 7 in downtown Portland. Organized by Service Employees Local 503, state workers from as far away as Medford and Klamath Falls made the trip to voice concerns about jobs and programs that may be cut from the state budget.

Congress close to passing Employee Free Choice Act
The Employee Free Choice Act, considered the union movement’s top priority legislation since 2003, could become law as early as next month. When Al Franken is seated as U.S. senator from Minnesota, backers believe they will have the 60 votes needed in the U.S. Senate to prevent a Republican filibuster of the bill.
Bill bans mandatory anti-union meetings
The Worker Freedom Act, which the Oregon AFL-CIO has called its top-priority legislation this year, passed the Oregon Senate June 8 by a 16-14 vote. The bill, considered likely to pass the Oregon House, takes aim at a major tactic employers use to squelch unionizing efforts.
CWA launches organizing drive at Oregonian mailroom
Could workers at the Oregonian unionize? The newspaper famously busted its unions in a bitter and drawn-out early 1960s strike. But a major pay cut has led a group of mailroom employees at the paper’s Kittridge Distribution Center in Portland to talk with Communications Workers of America Local 7901 about joining the union.

Labor board agrees nursing home fired Lehr for union activity
Elizabeth Lehr, a receptionist at Laurelhurst Village nursing home, was fired for legally-protected union activity, said the National Labor Relations Board May 29. The NLRB found management committed 11 violations of U.S. labor law. A July 14 date has been set for a judge to hear the case.

Portland City Council pledges to Buy American
Portland City Council passed resolutions June 3 pledging to buy goods and services made or produced in America — and to establish employment standards for all programs funded with monies from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Oregon ‘card-check’ law hasn’t led to increase in unionizing
It’s been two years since the Oregon Legislature passed a law giving public employees the ability to unionize by “card-check,” and in that time only 110 workers — at six workplaces — have joined a union through that method.
Poker Run raises cash for kids
About 200 union members and others gathered for chili and prizes June 13 for the close of the Unions for Kids 7th Annual Motorcycle Poker Run.

Union officer election results

ATU Local 757: Jon Hunt wins second term
In ballots counted June 5, Jon Hunt was elected to a second three-year term as president of Portland-headquartered Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757.
IBEW Local 280: Tim Nicol loses re-election bid; Caster, Frew in runoff
Tim Nicol lost a race for a second term as head of IBEW Local 280. A runoff will be held between Dennis Caster and Tim Frew, with ballots counted June 30.  
AFT-Oregon: Rives elected president
David Rives, an instructor at Portland Community College, was elected president of American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Oregon.