Labor and Workplace: Oral History Training Workshop

Oral History Training Workshop
June 3, 2017 – 9 AM to 12:30 PM

Presented by
Pacific Northwest Labor History Association

HELP RECORD OUR LABOR HISTORY!  Interview a fellow worker, a respected leader, a community activist, a family member, so that what they have been through and managed to accomplish is not lost down the drain of time.  Make it available* – to inform and inspire, to caution and counsel future generations.  Take part in this training workshop presented by the Oregon branch of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association.

WHEN:    Saturday, June 3, 2017 – 9 AM to 12:30 PM
WHERE:  American Postal Workers Union Hall, 2360 SE Morrison St., Portland, Oregon
Workshop entrance is in the rear of the building, on Belmont St., where there is a small parking lot.
COST:      $15
Union member?  Ask your union to sponsor you.
REGISTER:  contact Jim Strassmaier, 503-236-1094, or   Carolyn Matthews, 503-287-7690,

To learn more about OLOHP, go to:

*OLOHP oral histories are archived at the Oregon Historical Society.

Sandy Ellis – Oregon Oral History Program – Featured Interview


Sandy Ellis (1987)

Sandy Ellis taught school for fifteen years before being elected President of the Oregon 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.

Now listen to excerpts from her oral history conducted by the Oregon Labor Oral History Program.

For more information about sponsoring an oral history or to volunteer for interviewing, research, or transcribing contact former Oregon PNLHA VP Carolyn Matthews or trustee Jim Strassmaier

New labor studies podcast

Working History coverThe Southern Labor Studies Association (SLSA) has launched its podcast Working History. Hosted by SLSA President Beth English, podcast spotlights the work of leading labor historians, activists, and practitioners focusing on the U.S. South.

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.

The SLSA promotes the study, teaching, and preservation of southern labor history. The podcast is available for listening on iTunes and SoundCloud. Inquiries: .

Listen to IBEW rep Ed Barnes’s oral history

ed-barnes-lu-48-business-managerWho 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’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 For more information about sponsoring an oral history or to volunteer for interviewing, research, or transcribing contact former Oregon PNLHA VP Carolyn Matthews or trustee Jim Strassmaier .

Oral History from the OLOHP — Mel Schoppert

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.

The Schoppert interviews, conducted by the Oregon Labor Oral History Program (OLOHP) and archived at the Oregon Historical Society, were published in excerpts for union members in the NW Labor Press. OLOHP’s work is supported by ATU 757 members through a 2-cent per capita levy instituted in 2010. This contribution funds oral histories conducted by students, including subjects representing other unions.

Oral History Victory

Oral historyPortland 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.