Mayor Chamberlain?

Evan Manvel

Clearly some people think the mayor's race has room for more competitors. The Willamette Week has this scoop: AFL-CIO president Tom Chamberlain is considering running for Portland mayor.

Tom Chamberlain, a former Portland firefighter and current president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, tells WW he is strongly considering running for mayor of Portland.

"I have had a number of people call me in the last two weeks about running," Chamberlain says, "and I haven't said no."

Chamberlain says his union-organizing experience makes him a better fit for the office [than Brady or Hales].

"I'd run because of jobs," he says. "I really think the issue of jobs has to be from someone who has either created jobs, or represented workers, or worked on an agenda to create jobs. I don't know if the other two candidates have done that."

Reactions? Thoughts?

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    Something about Brady being involved in some grocery project, I think...

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        The purpose of a business is to make money for its shareholders. Everything else is just how they do that.

        The purpose of a union is to represent workers and introduce democracy into the workplace.

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          Accepting your premise I have to point out that either of them is capable of doing that job badly or well but neither is ipso facto successful.

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          and the best way to do that is to be a productive part of the community so that everyone prospers. at times that may mean cutting short-term profit, or paying more in taxes, or unionizing even though it cuts the profit margin. a business that works against the health of the community will end up costing everyone, including shareholders/owners, money. something corporate America appears not to understand one bit.

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        Don't see that either Chamberlain or Mark B. is claiming Hales or Brady is anti-union. Mark seems to be questioning the Chamberlain's claims that Brady hasn't "created jobs."

        The real underlying debate about jobs imo is the share of productivity that goes to labor vs. to capital. A trade unionist may be more likely than a business owner to favor a higher share to labor, leading to increased spending that creates markets in which investors can invest -- Keynesian policy, which is what our current jobs crisis needs.

        I.e., do you think jobs are created by investors, or by the people creating demand that investors seek to meet, or probably some variety of dynamic interaction?

        Another question is how much a mayor can do about those things.

        May be more likely, but necessarily. Chamberlain entering the race might elicit more information from all candidates about their approach to job creation.

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    Dissing the announced candidates before he's even in the race. This will get very "interesting".

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    Bob,

    That analogy fits for corporations, not for most small and medium-sized business that make up a majority of the jobs in Oregon.

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      It's not an analogy, it's a simple statement about the purpose of two different types of organizations. No business, large or small, exists to provide for the employees; doing so is means, not objective.

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        "No business, large or small, exists to provide for the employees."

        How about co-ops?

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          Plenty of employee owned businesses have had internal issues where the interests of the individual employee was at odds with the interests of the enterprise. Unions provide a level playing field.

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            Having been a member of two unions in my varied work experience I have to say that your statement that "Unions provide a level playing field" is hyperbole at best.

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        I've worked for some very big companies that believed that for them to be successful, their employees had to be successful. Wealth was the goal, but everyone had to share in it. I'd say those companies saw part of their mission to provide for their employees. Enlightened self-interest.

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    I live in Beaverton, but I believe any mayor of Portland would also serve as the head of many agencies (police, etc) and have many hats to wear. Which of the announced and potential candidates has experience related to those responsabilities?

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      Chamberlain was a firefighter and has shown great leadership at the AFL-CIO. I think the mix between public safety and organizational leadership would make him a good fit for this role. But it seems like you could make a solid argument for each of these candidates.

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    Tom would be a great candidate for Mayor. He has a unique understanding of the difficult times Oregonians are facing in this recession. As someone who works in the same building as Tom, I can say the guy works hard everyday to make sure we have a strong middle class here in Portland. That is the type of person we need as our Mayor.

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