September 5, 2008 Volume 109 Number 17

Union electrician speaks out about unsafe work in Iraq
A union electrician from Battle Ground, Wash., is raising hell over shoddy work and
unsafe conditions in Iraq — conditions so bad that they've resulted in the electrocution deaths of American troops.

[Left, IBEW Local 48 member Debbie Crawford testifies before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.]

Why labor is getting behind Barack Obama
Barack Obama was not the labor movement’s first choice for president. But Obama, the junior U.S. senator from Illinois, is the Democratic nominee, and no union in America wants to see Arizona’s Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain in the White House. That’s because on organized labor’s most important issues — trade, health care, and workers’ rights — Obama’s proposals and his brief legislative record are without question more appealing than McCain’s.

Oregon Building Trades Council stays out of U.S. Senate race
Both Democratic State Rep. Jeff Merkley and incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith addressed nearly 100 delegates and guests at the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council's 47th annual convention Aug. 26-28 at the Riverhouse Conference Center. Despite pleas for endorsement from both candidates, the Council took no action in a hotly contested race for U.S. Senate.
In Washington State, labor-backed candidates make cut in ‘Top 2’ primary
There were no surprises for organized labor in Washington’s Aug. 19 primary. Incumbents outpolled challengers in statewide races, and in some parts of the state, the new “top two” election system will result in candidates from the same party facing off in the November general election.

Labor activists foil plans for a Portland stop on national anti-union bus tour
When local labor activists heard about an anti-union campaign bus headed for a stop outside a union workplace, Oregon Iron Works, they sprang into action.
Curtain falls on AFL-CIO Union Industries Show
Labor’s “Greatest Show on Earth” — the AFL-CIO Union Industries Show — has been canceled. Sponsored by the Union Label & Service Trades Department, the
show has been held annually since 1950. But the Department, which is funded by per capita payments from international unions (and not by the AFL-CIO), was crippled when the Change to Win federation peeled off six unions.

Permanent Workers’ Memorial to be built at Salem’s Capitol Mall
A permanent Fallen Worker Memorial will soon break ground on the Capitol Mall in Salem. The Oregon AFL-CIO’s Safety and Health Committee has been trying for more than three years to erect a permanent memorial in Salem to honor workers who have been killed or injured on the job.
Fire Fighters union joins forces to help returning war veterans find jobs here
A union firefighter has helped launch a program for returning military veterans that introduces them to possible careers in fire service. Firefighter Erik Rosendahl, a member of Vancouver Fire Fighters Local 452 and a former Army Ranger, started the non-profit Boots to Boots last December with help from his union and the Vancouver Fire Department.