We were so thrilled to nominate four outstanding activists from Local 757 for recognition at the Northwest Oregon Labor Council’s Labor Appreciation Night! Jacob, Thomas, Beth, and Charisse are just four of the dedicated members of Local 757 who go above and beyond for their sisters & brothers while working to build up the union. Meet our four award winners:
Jacob Foster is our Liaison Officer for transit workers at the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (also known as COIC, serving Bend, Redmond, Madras, and Prineville), where he works as a dispatcher. Jacob was appointed as ATU 757’s Liaison Officer in Central Oregon in early 2017, and had almost no union experience or training at the time. But he believed in the union, knew that it was facing serious challenges in Central Oregon, and nobody else was willing or able to step up. He volunteered, and almost immediately began negotiations on a new contract. But just as bargaining began, he faced a petition from a handful of members who wanted to decertify the local union. Jacob not only beat this decertification, he then quickly won the best contract that he and his coworkers have ever had.
Thomas Tsuneta is the ATU Shop Steward at COIC, where he works as a Customer Service Representative. During a difficult period in 2017, COIC had no official union leadership and Thomas was, literally, the only COIC member who regularly attended union meetings. But instead of becoming discouraged, Thomas dedicated himself to rebuilding union power at COIC. Rather than taking on the top leadership role himself, he strategically recruited and supported Jacob Foster as a leader, and together the two of them quickly became an unstoppable team that has reestablished union solidarity and power in Central Oregon.
Beth Blumklotz is a Special Education bus driver for Portland Public Schools, and has quickly established herself as an intelligent, passionate, and vocal leader. She has been a proud ATU 757 member since 2013, but was not closely involved in union activity until she was recruited to the PPS negotiating team in mid 2017. Since then she has become one of the most recognizable union activists at PPS. She has testified to the PPS board, organized multiple direct actions, and become the main facilitator of PPS member meetings. Her talent and commitment to building member power is second to none
Charisse Wall is the outgoing Executive Board Officer for Portland Public Schools Special Education school bus drivers, having served since 2013. Charisse has also been an active ATU 757 member for 30 years. In anticipation of her imminent retirement from PPS, she has quietly and effectively built up one of the most diverse and talented groups of grassroots leaders that our union has ever seen. She has also volunteered countless hours helping with administrative tasks in the union hall, organizing our annual picnics at Blue Lake Park, and leading the team of volunteers behind our successful 100-year anniversary celebration in 2017.