Sen. Rosenbaum receives PNLHA award

Sen Rosenbaum award presentation - June 3, 2016Sen. Dianne Rosenbaum received the Ross Rieder History Person of the Year Award on June 3, 2016. The senator shared this year’s award with Dick Edgington who received his award at the PNLHA conference awards banquet on May 21, 2016. Oregon trustee Jim Strassmaeir and new Oregon vice-president Ryan Wisnor presented the award.

Senator Rosenbaum represents District 21 in Southeast Portland and Milwaukie. She chairs the Senate Committee on Rules and Executive Appointments and is a member of the Senate Workforce and Judiciary Committee. She is a passionate advocate for women and working families, serving on the Oregon Hunger Task Force and on the board of Labor’s Community Services of United Way. Her accomplishments include passage of Oregon’s landmark Paid Sick Days and Retirement Security laws, as well as the Foreclosure Avoidance Program. She is a life-long member the Communications Workers of America and has served on the Oregon AFL-CIO executive board. She led two successful campaigns to raise Oregon’s minimum wage, and continues to lead the fight for a living wage. See also https://nwlaborpress.org/2002/8-16-02Rosenbaum.html .

The award for History Maker of the Year will be presented to the Rural Organizing Project at a later date.

2016 PNLHA conference report

Solidarity Forever finale 2 - Friday receptionAnnual conference well received

 The 48th annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, held May 20-22, 2016, in Portland, was well received based on word-of-mouth comments and evaluations completed by 30 of about 125 participants, including 114 paid registrants.

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What did participants like best? One respondent summarized the feeling of many by praising “the interaction, friendliness and openness” of the conference. Another appreciated “the atmosphere of sharing, learning and solidarity.” Still another commented on how the content “related to contemporary issues.” Another liked the “great mix of scholars and activists [engaged] in lively and fruitful dialogue.”

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What did they like least? More than one respondent complained that there were too many good presentations to choose from. Some complained that there was not enough diversity: “Overall, it’s still a very white-person focused perspective, I can see that there’s an effort being make to change that, but [there’s] a long way to go.” Others said the conference needed more youth involvement. One suggested that the PNLHA sponsor a scholarship for high school and university students to attend the conference. Another proposed an essay or speech writing contest with the winner coming to the conference.

 Workshops, plenaries rated high

Twenty-six respondents gave the presentations an overall rating of “excellent” or “very good.” One respondent said they were “top notch” and another said they were “worth the price of admission.” Some were disappointed that they could not attend all the presentations.

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Sharing top honors for the favorite presentation were British Columbia filmmaker Neil Vokey’s U.S. premiere of Goodwin’s Way, University of Colorado (Denver) instructor James Walsh’s presentation on the Romero Theater Troupe, and University of Wisconsin scholar Andrew Wolf’s “The Living Wage and the Articulation of Working-Class Citizenship, 1920-1970.” The climate change roundtable discussion, the literature of labor, “Labor history: old style and digital style,” also won praise as did Gwen Trice’s presentation on African-American loggers, Steve McQuiddy on conscientious objectors in Waldport, Oregon, during the Second World War, Pacific University’s Larry Lipin on class and wilderness management, and PNLHA trustee Ryan Wisnor ‘s “The Trees Saved Them,” a unique angle on the historic 1934 longshoremen’s strike.

 Program events highlights

 Oregon First Nation’s leader Carolee Morris, a member of the Cowlitz First Nation tribal council, welcomed participants to our Friday night reception. She was followed by Portland band General Strike that brought the evening to a close with a rousing round of Solidarity Forever.

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Both the Saturday and Sunday plenaries were well attended and received favorable comments. Saturday’s keynote session garnered the most votes for “favorite presentation.” Sunday’s plenary won praise both for Washington State Labor Council president Jeff Johnson’s incisive comments on the need for labor to work for positive answers to climate change problems, and for the use of Skype to allow labor/environmental author Jeremy Brecher to respond.

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About 100 participants attended the banquet and awards ceremony. Participants applauded the food and the unionized staff that provided it. They also enjoyed Bellingham, WA, musician Dana Lyons who set a positive and participatory tone for the evening with his first set, featuring his trademark Cows with Guns song.

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The awards ceremony was interrupted when Dick Edgington, a co-recipient of the Ross Rieder Person of the Year Award, lost his balance and fell while mounting the stage to accept the award from PNLHA Oregon trustee Jim

Strassmaier. Conference participant Dr. Larry Morgenstern attended to Edgington along with nurse Maurge Dulaney as well as presenter Joanne Ursino. An ambulance team also examined Edgington and reported only minor injuries. The unfortunate incident disrupted the evening but a second musical set by Dana Lyons provided some tension relief for the remaining conference attendees.

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Edgington’s co-recipient Senator Dianne Rosenbaum was to receive her award on June 3. A future date will be set to present the History Maker of the Year Award to the Rural Organizing Project.

 Cultural program applauded

Three musical groups – Portland’s General Strike, Eugene’s Monday Morning Denial, and Bellingham, WA’s Dana Lyons were all applauded. As one evaluation noted, “The incredible music programming conveyed not only entertainment, but also the integral part it has played in the history of the labor movement.” Oregon trustee Nathan Moore, working with sound technician Dennis Soper, also playing harmonica with Monday Morning Denial, ensured that the music was technically excellent. Nathan also worked closely with Oregon trustee Ryan Wisnor who acted as liaison with the conference facility staff.

Fundraising results encouraging

There were 28 co-sponsors, three of which came after the conference ended. In-kind contributions included union photocopying of the kit materials by SEIU Local 503 members from the Labor Education and Research Center (LERC) at the University of Oregon as well as the free printing of the colorful conference brochure that appeared in all conference kit folders. Thanks to Portland’s union printer, Morel Ink. A poster with the names of conference co-sponsors was displayed throughout the conference and several announcements were made to thank them. The names also appeared at www.pnlha.org.

 Exhibitors’ displays added color

The conference hosted about 10 exhibitors, including several booksellers, a photo display, a solidarity quilt raffle, and a Columbian workers table. Choosing to have the exhibits arranged around the Friday reception room added much color to the proceedings.

 Kudos to conference organizers

The conference strongly benefitted from the volunteer work of the following people: Program coordination – Marcus Widenor; Venue/catering – Lane Poncy; A/V-Internet-Skype ­– Ryan Wisnor; Awards – Jim Strassmaier; Registration – Bruce Nelson and Carolyn Matthews; Exhibitor displays – LisaMary Wichowski; Photography and design – Leola Jewett-Verzuh; Music coordination – Nathan Moore; Overall coordination, fundraising, publicity, and conference kit development – Ron Verzuh.

 A final word of thanks

Judging from the written evaluations and verbal comments during the conference, the event was a programming success. Several participants were inspired by the proceedings and have pledged to attend future PNLHA conferences. The accident during the awards ceremony represented a flaw in the management of the event. As noted on several evaluation forms, needs of the elderly must be fully addressed in future. The conference was an overall financial success and all conference volunteers deserve a vote of thanks as do all our co-sponsors.

Note: More conference photos will be posted to a gallery section of our site.

2016 PNLHA Conference Program & Early Registration

Labor, Justice and the Environment: Historical Insights, Alliances and Challenges
Portland, Ore.
May 20 – May 22
Printable Conference Brochure

Labor environmentalism and climate change headline program

Registration & Lodging

Registration & Lodging

Labor historians, students, environmental activists, politicians and trade unionists will gather at the Portland State University Conference Center in Portland on May 20-22 to share views on “Labor, Justice and the Environment.” See program brochure for complete details on how to register and list of panels.

Schedule of Plenaries, Workshops, & Panels

Schedule of Plenaries, Workshops, & Panels

Washington AFL-CIO president Jeff Johnson will update the conference on the Paris Climate Change Conference with author Jeremy Brecher joining him via Skype.

Register Online Now:
U.S. registration link
Canadian registration link

Preview:
More than 20 workshops, presentations, films and displays will bring labor history to life. Among the topics to be addressed:

  • A historic coal strike in Depression-era Washington and the 1980s canning strike in Watsonville, California
  • Fighting to save the Canadian and US postal services and longshore workers in the Pacific Northwest
  • Labor environmentalism and building coalitions to tackle climate change
  • Conscientious war objectors on the Oregon coast and making labor history digital style
  • Chinese and Indian workers in Astoria, Oregon, and the history of Oregon’s African-American loggers
  • Canadian women’s march against poverty, the living wage fight, and retirement security
  • US premiere of Goodwin’s Way and a film about the Denver Romero Theatre Troupe
  • The literature of labor, and preserving historical labor records
Photo Credit: Creative Commons – Stuart Seeger

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – Stuart Seeger

Conference participants will also enjoy musical interludes provided by the Portland band General Strike, Washington State environmental singer-songwriter Dana Lyons, and Eugene’s roots duo Monday Morning Denial. Exhibitor display tables will also be available.

 

Contact:
Ron Verzuh, Oregon Vice-President, Pacific Northwest Labor History Association.

We thank these Co-Sponsors for their support:
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757
BC Government Employees Union
International Association of Machinists District W24
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Credit Union
Labor’s Community Service Agency, Inc.
Labor Education and Research Center
Marion-Yamhill Central Labor Council
Northwest Oregon Labor Council
Oregon AFL-CIO
Oregon Historical Society
Oregon School Employees Association
Portland Federation of School Professionals
Service Employees International Union Local 49
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 206
United Steel Workers District 12
Marcus Widenor

Register for the 2016 PNLHA conference online NOW!

PNLHA 2016 Conference (1)Come, share, and celebrate labor history at the 2016 Pacific Northwest Labor History Association conference at the Portland State University Conference Center and Hotel on May 20-22, 2016.

U.S. registration link

Canadian registration link

Conference organizers are excited about the program being developed under the theme “Labor, Justice and the Environment: Historical Insights, Alliances and Challenges”

And conference participants can expect a variety of other workshops and presentation, including new labor-related films, a report on the recent Paris climate change conference from a Pacific Northwest region labor leader, and a photo exhibit about the Everett Massacre which occurred 100 years ago this year.

Register early to take advantage of the fee discount and save your place at the Saturday banquet and other ticketed events. Don’t forget to print out your online registration form.

Please note that you can also register by mail or email. Send your registration details to PNLHA Oregon, 715 Ellsworth St., Eugene, Oregon USA 97402 or to rverzuh@shaw.ca.