July 7, 2006  Volume 107 Number 13

Re-hired Wednesday …
on strike by Friday

Nine months after he was fired for union activity, a settlement brokered by the National Labor Relations Board returned Cliff Puckett to a job as a carpenter on the Benson Tower construction project in downtown Portland. That was Wednesday, June 28. Two days later, he was on strike.

Left: Cliff Puckett returns to work at the Benson Tower June 28, nine months after being fired for involvement in a union campaign.

Union-backed political party wins official ballot status in Oregon
As of June 27, Oregon has a new minor political party. The Oregon Working Families Party, brought to life by eight labor organizations and several allied community groups, is meant to steer politics back to breadbasket issues.
Three bargaining units settle contracts at Portland Public Schools
Oregon's largest school district appears to be backing away from open warfare with its unions. Still, the district's three contract settlements in June look less like declarations of love than temporary truces between adversaries.

Vancouver Hilton workers join UNITE HERE Local 9
The Hilton Vancouver Washington is now the fourth union hotel in the Portland metro area. Last month, 130 housekeeping, laundry, restaurant, bar and banquet workers became members of the garment and hospitality union UNITE HERE Local 9.
Labor agency will help Oregon veterans find jobs
Community Solutions for Clackamas County has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor primarily to help Oregon's combat veterans transition back into the civilian workforce.
Portland-based Carpenters Industrial Council formed by national mergers
The Portland-based Western Council of Industrial Workers has merged with three other councils to form the national Carpenters Industrial Council.
Clatskanie ethanol plant to be union-built
Cascade Grain Products at Port Westward on the Columbia River will be the largest ethanol plant on the West Coast, producing 113.4 million gallons of corn-based dry mill fuel-grade ethanol per year. It will serve markets in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.
Eastern Oregon profs drop strike plans, okay deal
Faculty at Eastern Oregon University (EOU) voted June 13 to approve a no-raise economic package. The deal will take them to the end of their first union contract with the lowest wages of any public university in Oregon.
Electrical Workers 280 elects Tim Nicol as business manager
Local 280, headquartered in Tangent, Oregon, has 1,068 members in the electrical construction industry, and a jurisdiction that runs from Woodburn to Cottage Grove and from the Cascade Range to Central Oregon.

NLRB issues 2005 report on elections and workers rights
Union organizing is holding steady at virtually nil, and complaints of employer violations of labor law are on the decline, judging from the most recent annual report of the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that administers the basic law governing relations between labor unions and business.

Court reinstates retiree benefits at Rexam
A California District Court gave a group of Rexam retirees a major victory when it ordered Rexam, the giant consumer packaging and beverage can manufacturer, to reinstate retiree medical and prescription drug benefits that Rexam unilaterally terminated effective Jan. 1, 2006.

Think again
By Tim Nesbitt
Yes, we can ... make higher education affordable again
One thing we can say about the 12,000 students who received degrees from Oregon's public universities this year: More than any students who came before them, they earned their educations.