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Oregon AFL-CIO

2110 State St.
Salem, OR 97301





The Oregon AFL–CIO represents more than 250,000 working Oregonians and their families, almost evenly split between members of affiliate unions and of Working America, the AFL-CIO community affiliate.




icon_structureThe Oregon AFL-CIO is a member-driven organization, based on democratic principles. The governing body is the state Biennial Convention, held on odd-numbered years. These Conventions establish the principles that guide the Oregon AFL-CIO.  Between conventions, the Board and the COPE (Committee on Political Education) make policy decisions and endorsements based on these principles.

Every four years, the Biennial Convention elects the President and Secretary-Treasurer who are the Executive Officers, as well as the At-Large Vice-Presidents and at-Large Executive Board members. The Executive Board is made up of members of the larger affiliate unions, regional representatives from the Central Labor Committees (CLCs) and a representative of the Constituency Groups.  While a larger General Board serves as the COPE and meets at least twice a year, the Executive Board handles regular business in between these meetings.

Key Officers and Executive Council

oregonaflcio_tomchamberlainTom Chamberlain, President, Oregon AFL-CIO, IAFF

Tom Chamberlain was elected President of the Oregon AFL-CIO by a unanimous vote of the Executive Board in October 2005. He was reelected in 2007 and in 2011.

Following a stint in the United States Air Force, Tom joined the Portland Fire Fighters Association in 1977. His local union elected him Secretary-Treasurer in 1988 and he served in that capacity for 10 years. Tom started lobbying full-time for the Oregon State Firefighters Council in 1989 and was subsequently elected Vice President (1994-96 and 1998-2003) and then President (1996-98) of the organization.

In 1998, the firefighters’ biggest Oregon local, Local 43, elected Tom to succeed Randy Leonard as President. He was re-elected in 2001.

From 1998-2003, Tom served as an International Association of Fire Fighters Field Representative, providing recourses and support to IAFF affiliate leaders throughout Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada. Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Tom to act as a senior policy advisor in 2004, a position he held until he became President of the Oregon AFL-CIO.

oregonaflcio_barbarabyrdBarbara Byrd, Secretary Treasurer, Oregon AFL-CIO, AFT

A union member and labor educator for more than 30 years, Barbara Byrd was appointed to an unexpired term in 2005 and reelected in 2007 and 2011.  A member of the American Federation of Teachers, Barbara came to the Oregon AFL-CIO with significant relationships with many Oregon unions and knowledge about their histories, challenges and the resources they bring to the larger union movement.

Barbara oversees workforce and economic development policy issues for the Oregon AFL-CIO. She represents the organization in state level discussions about climate change policy and sits on the Oregon Workforce Investment Board. She also staffs the Oregon BlueGreen Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and social justice organizations.

She worked with community groups and unions to help craft a Community Workforce Agreement for the City of Portland’s pilot residential weatherization program, Clean Energy Works, and she was involved in the effort to have Portland designated a pilot site for the Emerald Cities program.
She also helped to organize a Western regional labor group, including heads of the labor federations from the Western US and British Columbia, to push labor’s agenda with the Western Climate Initiative.
Barbara teaches at the Labor Education and Research Center of the University of Oregon where she facilitates workshops and classes for union activists and leaders, including grievance handling, leadership skills, and internal organizing. She also helps deliver leadership and organizational development training as part of the national AFL-CIO’s Central Labor Council/State Federation program.

In December, 2010, Barbara attended the United Nations Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of the official US labor delegation.

Barbara has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Texas, and an M.S. in Labor Studies from the University of Massachusetts. She is a member of United Academics of the University of Oregon, AFL/AAUP Local 3209, AFL-CIO.

(See Appendix for Executive Council)


Sustainability Profile


The Oregon AFL-CIO has made public commitments to work with partner organizations on a series of issues at both the state and local level that address sustainability.

Barbara Byrd, Secretary Treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO, represents the organization in state level discussions about climate change. She staffs the Oregon BlueGreen Apollo Alliance, sits on the Board of the Labor Network for Sustainability, and has been a vocal leader within the labor movement in Oregon on climate change and green jobs.

Barbara worked with other labor leaders and leaders within Oregon’s environmental and community groups to draft a High Road Standards Agreement for Oregon’s path-breaking Clean Energy Works Oregon program. The project itself “intends to save energy, reduce carbon emissions, improve home comfort and home values, and create new jobs and long-term employment opportunities and career paths for Oregon residents.”  The Project’s High Road Standards set a wage floor for work performed, and requires contractors to provide health benefits and recruit from disadvantaged local communities, bolstering the local green economy.

The OR AFL-CIO website features numerous articles connecting local labor to environment, including opportunities for their members to speak out on global warming and green jobs.  One Such article, “Speak Up about Global Warming & Good, Green Jobs” ties in the work of the Oregon Global Warming Commission (OGWC). The Commission is “developing a strategy to reduce 2020 greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from today’s levels, and wants to make sure their decisions are informed by a wide variety of perspectives from a diverse spectrum of Oregonians.” When the Commission sought public feedback on how the state could best prepare to meet the challenges of climate change, OR AFL-CIO responded by spreading OGWC survey. OR AFL-CIO says “it’s crucial that the Commission hears from Oregon’s working families: How can the state address climate change while preserving jobs in traditional sectors and assuring that new “green” jobs provide a family wage and benefits.”

Oregon AFL-CIO was also a big presence at the recent 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs West Coast Conference.  Oregon was featured in three panels and strongly encouraged its members to register for the conference on the federation site and participate in the greater conversation about “[creating] good jobs that are good for our environment and our communities.”   At the 2014 Conference, the Oregon AFL-CIO will be represented on a panel analyzing regional efforts to address climate change.

Oregon AFL-CIO’s comments on President Trumka’s response to the State of the Union acknowledge the importance of the green initiatives within the state. The state federation writes, “President Trumka’s emphasis on improving infrastructure, adding green jobs and rebuilding schools are particularly relevant in our state.  We will soon begin Governor Kitzhaber’s initiative to improve schools to create jobs and improve the educational infrastructure.”

Green building has been on the “collective mind” of the OR AFL-CIO for a while.  The Oregon AFL-CIO is the convener of the Oregon BlueGreen Apollo alliance. In 2007, the Alliance successfully advocated for Oregon to adopt a Renewable Energy Standard, Renewable Fuel Standard and enhanced tax credits for business and residents. In 2008, in conjunction with the Alliance, the Oregon AFL-CIO “helped pass the “Apollo Bill,” which requires the state to reduce energy usage of state buildings 20 percent by 2015.” In 2011, the Alliance and the Oregon AFL-CIO worked with allies to enact the “Cool Schools” bill that enabled energy efficiency retrofits in schools throughout the state.  The Oregon AFL-CIO is now partnering actively with environmental allies to protect the Renewable Energy Standard, which is facing a ballot measure attack in 2014.


Appendix 1: Executive Council



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