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

PNLHA to meet Eastside Dems Club

Trustee Jim Strassmeier, co-chair of PNLHA’s Oregon Labor Oral History Program, and PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy will discuss oral history and the PNLHA at an Eastside Democratic Party Club meeting on Nov. 3, 2015. The meeting will be held from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at the Grace Presbyterian Church building, NE 60th and Prescott.

Canadian social democrats make history with landslide election win

Rachel Notley

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley

A win in the most Conservative Canadian province will inspire hope everywhere

For the first time in history Canadians have elected a New Democratic Party government in Alberta (sometimes called the Texas of Canada).

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, NDP Leader Rachel Notley and her social democrats won 53 of the 87 seats in the provincial legislature and held 41 per cent of the popular vote. They ran far ahead of the other parties in pre-election polling.

The landslide sweep means that Notley will get the opportunity to help people, make lives better, move on the environment and make things better for kids,” as she has said. To help her do it, in her victory speech she estimated that “we have elected the most women in any government in Canadian history…so that’s kind of cool.”

Trade unions traditionally support the NDP, so this is a historic victory for them as well. Many unions helped found the third party in 1961 and were affiliated to its predecessor the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) founded in the 1930s.

The NDP victory in the oil-rich province brings to an end 44 years of Conservative rule. (Canadian Conservatives are sometimes compared to Republicans). While the NDP has held power in other provinces, notably Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia, defeating the Conservatives (aka Tories) makes this victory all the sweeter. Tory leader David Prentice immediately resigned.

Many NDPers from neighboring B.C. no doubt will be spurred by the win to fight harder to oust the ruling Liberals (a mix of right-wing Democrats and slightly more centrist Republicans) when they go to the polls in May 2017.

“This victory shows what’s possible when folks like you stand together and demand more than the status quo,” Matt Hannah of the B.C NDP told party supporters. “I’m more fired up than ever to see the same kind of progress here.”

They made history in Alberta this week and their strong progressive win in the most conservative province in Canada should serve as an inspiration for all trade unionists: we can create a progressive political culture and we can bring about the progressive social change that many North Americans are demanding.

See network news coverage of election results: