PNLHA addresses Portland Dems

PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy.

PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy.

PNLHA trustee Jim Strassmeier.

PNLHA trustee Jim Strassmeier.

PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy and Portland trustee Jim Strassmeier signed up three new members after addressing the Eastside Democratic Club in Portland in October.

Following a main speaker on Israel and Palestine, the PNLHA representatives introduced about 30 club members to the PNLHA’s work and mandate, particularly noting the availability of an oral history of respected Eastside Member George Starr.

They stressed the ongoing series of labor programs broadcast on KBOO radio, mentioned recent activities of the Oregon branch of the PNLHA, and promoted the next conference on May 20-22, 2016, in Portland.

Oregon trustee launches new biography on social unionism

Bussel book coverA new double biography by Oregon PNLHA trustee Bob Bussel, director of the Labor Education and Research Center (LERC) in Eugene, tells the story of two St. Louis Teamster leaders who practiced their unionism in a different way.

Fighting for Total Person Unionism shares the visions of Harold Gibbons and Ernest Calloway. Gibbons was a top assistant to Jimmy Hoffa and Calloway was a leader of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Both were leaders of Teamsters Local 688 in St. Louis during the 1950s and 1960s.

What is total person unionism? It’s “a visionary form of social unionism,” Bussel told the Northwest Labor Press (Oct. 16, 2015). Gibbons and Calloway “were interested in using the knowledge and power that workers had – to act as effective citizens in the community.”

In the book, his second labor biography, Bussel talks about the “working-class citizenship” that the two men exhibited and promoted in their union leadership roles. Borrowing on the shop steward model, they encouraged members to become “community stewards.”

Issues they championed: improving public transportation, public health, better public housing and education, preventing juvenile delinquency, and even rat control. “They were really trying to fashion a way in which workers could improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods,” Bussel told the paper.

Bussel will discuss his work at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3, at the Wayne Morse Commons, Knight Law Center in Eugene, and at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5 in Room 302 of the UO White Stage Building, 70 NW Couch St. in Portland.

Fighting for Total Person Unionism: Harold Gibbons, Ernest Calloway, and Working-Class Citizenship (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 272 pages, $32 (paper). For more details.

KBOO interviews Oregon trustees

Oregon trustees Ryan Wisnor and Nathan Moore were guests on Portland radio station KBOO’s Labor Show in October. Hosting the show were PNLHA secretary Lane Poncy and member and author Susan Stoner. One of the topics: Why they joined the PNLHA.


Oregon trustee from Portland Ryan Wisnor.

For Ryan, the PNLHA “has a lot to offer folks who are younger, who are in unions, but also folks who are in non-unionized workplaces.” Ryan said that for him, “the association has brought me in contact with a generation of workers who have gone through struggles similar to the ones I experience in my day to day life.” Ryan’s specific interest is oral history, so that was another draw to the association.

Kate and Nathan 3

Oregon trustee from Eugene Nathan Moore.

For Nathan, a labor history specialist in the music of longshoreman Harry Stamper and others, the PNLHA “was the perfect place for me to present my information.” Nathan added that he “liked the mix of academic folks and…regular folks who are just interested in history, workers, etc. It wasn’t a boring old academic conference.” Nathan also performs as a musician at PNLHA events.

To hear the full interview: .

PNLHA Oregon hosts historic event

Justice for all logoPNLHA Oregon will host the 1934 ILWU Remembrance Event in St Johns Portland on July 11, as agreed at the Oregon trustees’ meeting in Salem on June 6, 2015.

The meeting also agreed that PNLHA Oregon become an institutional member of Portland Jobs with Justice with an $85 donation from the trustees. Portland trustee Ryan Wisnor will be the PNLHA representative at the JwJ meetings.

The meeting also voted to have PNLHA Oregon become an institutional member of HealthCare of Oregon. McMinnville trustee Mike Sullivan will represent us at HCO meetings.