Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current, October 20, 2006, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Page 8
V olume 107
Number 20
October 20, 2006
P ortland
Organized labor
says Kulongoski
is best bet for
working people
Following a relatively quiet primary,
labor unions have stepped up the pace to
re-elect Ted Kulongoski as governor of
On Oct. 14 several hundred union
members gathered at Kulongoski’s cam-
paign headquarters in Northeast Port-
land to meet the governor and later fan
out across the city to remind people to
cast their ballots before 8 p.m. on Tues-
day, Nov. 7. Ballots will be mailed start-
ing Oct. 23.
“It’s a question of ‘which side are
you on?’ If it’s the rich getting richer ...
that’s the other guy,” said Bill Lucy, in-
ternational secretary-treasurer of the
American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees, to a sea of
green AFSCME T-shirts.
Also joining Kulongoski and Lucy at
the rally were U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden,
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom
Chamberlain, and Tina Kotek, a candi-
date for the Oregon House of Represen-
“It’s all about getting our people to
vote,” said Chamberlain. “What we do
will make the difference in wins and
losses. Turnout is everything.”
Kulongoski has endorsements from
virtually every labor organization in the
state, including the Oregon AFL-CIO,
the Oregon State Building and Con-
struction Trades Council, the Oregon
Machinists Council, Oregon AFSCME
Council 75, the Fire Fighters, and the
Columbia River District of the Interna-
tional Longshore and Warehouse Union,
to name some.
Change to Win labor federation
unions, such as United Food and Com-
mercial Workers Local 555, Teamsters
Joint Council 37, Service Employees
Locals 503 and 49, and the Pacific
Northwest Regional Council of Carpen-
ters, also are supporting Kulongoski.
The independent Oregon State Police
Officers Association and the Oregon Ed-
ucation Association are on board for the
incumbent governor as well.
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (left) shakes hands with retired Machinist Max Loucks during a campaign fundraiser
at the Longshore Union hall in Northwest Portland. A former union Steelworker, Iron Worker and labor attorney,
Kulongoski has received endorsements from unions and councils taking positions in local politics.
Chamberlain said Republican chal-
lenger Ron Saxton is trying to buy his
way to the governor’s office. “He’s got
money from big oil and drug compa-
nies, and a good old boy half-million-
dollar club,” Chamberlain said. “We
know who will run this state (if Saxton
is elected).”
Kulongoski thanked the crowd for
turning out on a Saturday morning.
“This will make the difference. It’s why
we will win,” he said.
Now through election day, union
members will be reaching out to col-
leagues at work and at home. The Ore-
gon AFL-CIO has hired crews to make
phone calls to union households, and
Working America, a “community affili-
ate” of the AFL-CIO, which has 30,000
members in Oregon, is involved. Work-
ing America is made up primarily of
middle-income workers who sympa-
thize with labor’s goals but do not be-
long to a union.
Many building trades union mem-
bers are handbilling construction sites
(Turn to Page 11)
‘Yes’ on Ballot Measure 44
Oregon AFL-CIO backs just one measure
Every two years, Oregonians get to be supreme legislators
for a day, voting yes or no on questions framed by others in the
ballot initiative process. This year, nine initiatives got enough
signatures to win a place on the ballot.
The state’s unions, at least those affiliated with the Oregon
AFL-CIO, have taken positions on six of the nine.
Just one, Ballot Measure 44, got the state labor federation’s
support. If Measure 44 passes, any Oregon resident who doesn’t
have insurance covering prescription drugs can enroll in the
state’s fledgling prescription drug bulk purchasing pool. It’s a
common-sense idea: Get all the buyers together to bargain a bet-
ter deal on drug prices (kind of like the idea of a union, actu-
ally). But drug companies saw the proposal as a threat to their
profits, and used their powerful lobby to control the minds of
enough Oregon legislators to stop the bill. A union-backed coali-
tion did the work to get this on the ballot. Now it’s up to voters.
On three measures — 39, 42 and 43 — the Oregon AFL-
CIO took no position.
The rest of the measures are opposed by th AFL-CIO.
Measure 40 requires that Oregon’s seven Supreme Court
judges and 10 Appeals Court judges be elected by district in-
stead of statewide, as they are now. Opponents say the measure
is likely to politicize the courts. Voters rejected this before in
Measure 41 would allow an income tax deduction equal to
the federal exemptions deduction to substitute for state exemp-
tion credit. Did you catch that? Should detailed tax policy be
made by ballot measure, or is that the job legislators are elected
and paid to do? In a nutshell, this would reduce state tax rev-
enues by about 6 percent, or roughly $400 million a year. That
would necessitate cuts in public education, public safety and hu-
man services.
Measure 45 would bring term limits back to the Oregon Leg-
islature: State House reps would be limited to six years, state
senators would be limited to eight years, and no one could serve
longer than 14 years total in the Legislature. Oregon had voter-
approved term limits from 1992 to 2002, when the Oregon
Supreme Court threw them out. Opponents say legislators al-
(Turn to Page 7)