August 17, 2007 Volume 108 Number 16

Labor Day 2007 — Oregon union picnic schedule
On America's once-a-year labor holiday, check out a picnic near you for food, family fun, and worker solidarity.

Pulse of the Unions: How are workers doing?
What kind of shape is the local labor movement in, and how are working people doing? Labor Day is a good time to take the pulse of labor, so for perspectives on the subject, the Northwest Labor Press talked to Tom Chamberlain, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO; Bob Bussel, director of the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center; and Art Ayre, labor economist for the Oregon Employment Service.

Labor will keep pushing for freedom to unionize
U.S. union leaders got closer this year to reforming America's basic labor law than they have in at least three decades. After generations of decline, hopes for a union comeback are pinned on the Employee Free Choice Act — a bill in Congress that would make it easier for workers to unionize and get a fair union contract.

Circuit City lands on Oregon AFL-CIO’s Do Not Patronize List
The Oregon AFL-CIO has added Circuit City to its Unfair/Do Not Patronize List. In March, Circuit City fired 3,400 “associates” and offered to rehire them at a lower wage. The company said it was eliminating jobs that paid “well above” market rates.

School employees union to vote on affiliation with AFT
Members of the independent Oregon School Employees Association will vote whether or not to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
. Delegates attending OSEA’s 2007 Annual Conference in June approved a resolution to put the affiliation question to a vote of its 16,000 dues-paying members. Talks between the two organizations have been going on for several years.
Oregon AFL-CIO E-Board rejects 2005 resolution supporting Kyoto Protocol
An Oregon AFL-CIO resolution on global warming that has been languishing for two years was officially put to rest Aug. 10. The resolution, to endorse the Kyoto treaty on global warming, was first introduced at the union federation's October 2005 convention.
Enron workers’ case may reach U.S. high court
U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) called on the Bush Administration to take the side of Enron's victims in a lawsuit that may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Smith made the call after learning that New York-based Center for Justice and Democracy and Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers would be staging a press conference near his Portland office, along with two Oregon PGE/Enron workers. Normally, the Securities and Exchange Commission would intervene on the side of stockholders in such a case, filing an “amicus brief” with the Supreme Court. But the Bush Administration has refused to allow the SEC to file a brief in support of investors.

Hardhats want Pepsico plant in Albany to be built by local workers
Construction workers — plumbers, laborers, electricians, operating engineers, carpenters and others — are opposing a proposal by the Albany City Council to create an urban renewal district that would primarily benefit a multi-billion-dollar corporation.

CWA Local 7901 reaches stalemate at credit union
Members of Portland-based Communications Workers of America Local 7901 have reached a stalemate at Unitus Community Credit Union. Workers rejected management’s final union contract proposal by 3-to-1. The issue dividing the sides is merit pay. Local 7901 President Madelyn Elder says it’s a core union principle to oppose pay systems that give all the discretion to management to decide whether and how much an employee should earn.