Sandy Ellis taught school for fifteen years before being elected President of theOregon Education Association (OEA)at the age of 36. She led the OEA through important changes including implementation of affirmative action and a merger with classified employees. Ellis provided leadership at both the local and state level.
The inaugural episode features an interview with Hood College Assistant Professor Jay Driskell who discusses his book Schooling Jim Crow, in which he traces the three-decade struggle to build the first publicly funded high school for black students in Atlanta.
Who was Ed Barnes? He was a long-serving representative of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48 in Portland. Listen to his oral history in pnlha.org’s Resources section under Oregon Labor Oral History Program. PNLHA trustee Jim Strassmaier conducted the Barnes history and has produced many others for the OLOHP. Member Ryan Wisnor works on oral history projects and posts to pnlha.org. For more information about sponsoring an oral history or to volunteer for interviewing, research, or transcribing contact former Oregon PNLHA VP Carolyn Matthews firstname.lastname@example.org or trustee Jim Strassmaier email@example.com .
The Oregon Labor Oral History Program (OLOHP), an affiliate project of the PNLHA and the Oregon Historical Society, preserves the collective history of labor unions and work life of Oregonians. The following audio excerpts illuminate a teenager’s dramatic passage from regular ordinary life, through the unbelievable extremes of war in the Pacific, to the transformation into passionate labor leadership.
Mel Schoppert: Tape 2, Side 1 October 16, 2001 : Excerpt Transcript First Job After Returning from World War II
Mel Schoppert: Tape 2, Side 1 October 16, 2001 : Excerpt Transcript “Raising Hell” on the Job and in the Union
From left to right: Wallace Feist, ATU 757 Secretary Treasurer, Ron Heintzman, ATU 757 President, Mel Schoppert ATU International Vice President, Rufus Fuller, ATU 757 Vice President
Mel Schoppert (17 July 1924 – 28 May 2002) worked as an officer of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 for eighteen years and served as as a business representative for eleven.
Beginning his career as a bus driver with the Portland Traction Company in 1952, Schoppert helped take wage rates from a low level to one of the highest in the country, with ample fringe benefits. Schoppert battled for and gained one of the first dental plans, job injury, “full pay” supplemental benefits, and broke the six week vacation barrier with six weeks after 30 years.
At the Oregon Legislature he lobbied for and got nineteen bills passed, calling for benefits and job security for transit employees. In 1973, he was elected to the post of Vice President of the ATU International and served as its Senior Vice President until his death in 2002.
Portland Firefighters Association IAFF Local 43 president Alan Feschweiler presented Jim Strassmaier and Carolyn Matthews of OLOHP (PNLHA) with $2,200 for Michael O’Rourke’s oral history of Oregon Federation of Labor president Tom Chamberlain. PNLHA Oregon contributed $800 to video formatting. Of that sum, $500 originates from the
ongoing funding from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. The rest is from other sources.