August 5, 2005  Volume 106 Number 15

AFL-CIO splits, limits work with disaffiliated unions
By unanimous votes of their boards, UFCW, SEIU and the Teamsters left the AFL-CIO late last month. UNITE-HERE, which represents hotel, restaurant and garment workers, is expected to leave this month. The three were among the AFL-CIO’s largest unions, with more than 4 million members combined. The national AFL-CIO drew a hard line at the close of its convention, saying state federations and local labor councils cannot take money or otherwise work officially with union locals and councils from unaffiliated unions.
CAFTA passes with help of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon
One vote would have made the difference. CAFTA, the Dominican Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement, passed the U.S. House of Representatives just after midnight July 28 in a 217-215 vote. The vote was largely along party lines, with just 27 of 231 Republicans voting against CAFTA, and just 15 of 202 Democrats voting for it.

Congress approves energy policy: tax breaks for oil, gas, coal
In closed door meetings the last several months, Congress went to work solving America’s energy problems. Maybe you thought the problems were high gas prices, dependence on foreign oil, and pollution and global warming. The problems they identified were that local electric monopolies can’t be easily combined into giant national companies, and oil, gas and other energy companies aren’t making enough money.

New law targets workers’ comp doctor abuses
Senate Bill 311 is the first help injured workers have gotten from the Oregon Legislature in a long time.
The bill deals with a growing scandal: Insurer Medical Examiners, doctors hired by insurance companies to judge workers’ claims of on-the-job injuries.
‘Lonely lawmaker’ continued to show up for work in Salem
Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) was the topic of a KATU News feature last month that showed him reporting to his desk on the floor of the House of Representatives every day at 11 a.m. even when the House was empty. Witt, who is secretary-treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO, was left on his own because Speaker of the House Karen Minnis and Republican leadership twice called for a vote to shut down the House of Representatives for three-day “rolling recesses.”
RNs ratify contract at SW Washington Medical Center
Registered nurses at Southwest Washington Medical Center, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association, overwhelmingly voted on July 8 to ratify a new contract. The three-year deal will expire on April 30, 2008
Richards elected secretary-treasurer of OPEIU Local 11
Mike Richards has been elected executive secretary-treasurer of Portland-based Office and Professional Employees Local 11. He defeated five other candidates in a special mail ballot election. Richards, a business representative of the union for 22 years, received 281 votes.

Iron Workers Local 516 elects new officers
Portland-based Iron Workers Shopmen’s Local 516 announced results from its recent union election. Michael Lappier, 46, of Universal Structures Inc. (USI), defeated incumbent Bruce Bunnell for the full-time paid position of financial secretary-treasurer/business agent. Bunnell, 64, will retire.

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