Seaside, Oregon – The gavel fell, adjourning the 56th Convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO today in Seaside. Over 350 delegates from every corner of Oregon’s union movement attended and plotted a course forward for the state federation of labor unions. One of the biggest events of this convention was a passing of the torch from retiring Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain and Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byrd to newly elected officers.
Taking the helm of the 300,000-member federation is Graham Trainor, who will be the youngest elected President in Oregon AFL-CIO history. Christy O’Neill, an AFSCME-represented Head Start teacher from Southern Oregon will serve as Secretary-Treasurer. Trainor has worked for the Oregon AFL-CIO since 2008, most recently as the Chief of Staff for the federation. Trainor and O’Neill were unanimously elected by the convention delegates.
“It’s an honor to carry on the tradition of fierce advocacy for workers that Tom instilled in our organization,” said Trainor. “The Oregon AFL-CIO will continue to be a strong voice for Oregon’s workers, and we are determined to adapt to the changing reality of the fight for justice for all Oregonians. The future of our movement is bright, bold and inclusive. We will fight for any worker dreaming of a better life, regardless of who they love, the country they were born in or the color of their skin. We will continue to do what Tom and Barbara have done for the past 14 years: Set the bar high and fight like hell for working people.”
The 56th Convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO included the passage of official resolutions which will guide the state federation’s work for the next two years and include some very important topics.
“This year, our convention is about making the labor movement a place where all working people feel welcome,” remarked Trainor. “It’s about intersectionality, finding the crossroads of our struggles, and looking for opportunities for our movement to be a resource and an advocate with all workers. We had a panel discussion and a resolution about the Time’s Up movement and fighting workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as the need to meet workers who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming on their own terms and be an inclusive movement for ALL workers. We resolved to continue our fight for the rights of new Americans and those fighting an immigration system that is only set up for their failure, and to revitalize our efforts of embracing any worker looking for a better life by supporting new and innovative organizing strategies. We took important steps forward to chart a path in our fight for workers facing a challenging, precarious 21st century economy. We marched and picketed, stood together and after adjournment I can tell you for certain: The coming years are going to be busy and exciting for Oregon’s unions. We have a lot of ground to cover, and thanks to the leadership of Tom, Barbara and our affiliated unions, we’re ready for the fight ahead.”