September 21, 2007 Volume 108 Number 18

Hilton workers rally
Several hundred hotel workers and supporters marched outside the downtown Portland Hilton Hotel and Executive Tower Sept. 14 to protest slow progress in contract bargaining. The rally was part of Hotel Workers Rising — a national campaign by their union, UNITE HERE, to increase union power in the hotel industry. In Portland, UNITE HERE Local 9’s contract at the downtown Hilton expired at the end of July. Hilton pastry chef Megan Futrell, a member of the union bargaining team, said union priorities include reduced workload for the hotel’s house-keepers, a successorship clause to protect workers in the event the hotel is sold, and the right of the local union elected officials to take extended unpaid leave from work while serving their terms.

Sweeney, Edwards will headline Oregon AFL-CIO convention
National AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski are scheduled to address delegates to the Oregon AFL-CIO's 50th convention Oct. 7-10 in Seaside, Oregon.

Labor Council opposes tax-funded day labor center
The Northwest Oregon Labor Council took action Aug. 27 opposing a proposed day labor center subsidized by the City of Portland. Union officials also are miffed at their exclusion from a committee comprised of self-identified stakeholders such as day laborers, Hispanic organizations, businesses, churches and neighborhood groups.

Disabled worker programs act as a wedge for privatization
Critics say an Oregon program to help disabled workers has run amok, threatening public and private-sector union jobs while neglecting the truly disabled.

New group formed for union members who like to hunt and fish
A new group for union members who hunt and fish is offering discounts on magazines and outdoor gear — and inviting members to bring the power of the union idea to conservation efforts.

Firefighters use new card-check law to secure union
In August, a group of eight employees at Newport Fire & Rescue became the first in Oregon to make use of a new state law that requires public employers to recognize a union based on "card check."

Maintenance workers ratify new pact with Portland Schools by one vote
By a vote of 40 to 39, maintenance and construction workers ratified a new four-year contract at Portland Public Schools Aug. 29. The crew had been working under a management-implemented contract since June 11. In April, members had rejected the district's proposal by a margin of 80 percent, and authorized a strike the first such authorization in the unit's history.
Farra elected secretary-treasurer of Transit Union Local 757
Tri-Met streetcar operator Evette Farra has been elected secretary-treasurer of Portland-based Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, out-polling five other candidates in a race to fill the unexpired term of Tom Wallace. Wallace resigned in February after admitting to stealing money from a special fund set up to help pay child care and elder care expenses for Tri-Met employees. He is now facing a federal criminal indictment.
Oregon AFL-CIO endorses two ballot referrals: Measures 49, 50
The Oregon AFL-CIO is getting behind a land-use reform proposal and a cigarette tax increase to fund health care — two ballot measures that will go before voters in November. Both are referrals from the Oregon Legislature.

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