SPEAKERS 2015


Will Aitchison

Attorney, The Law office of Will Aitchison . Over the course of his career, Will has represented over 100 Labor Organizations in five western states. Will has handled hundreds of arbitrations and is the author of seven books on labor relations issues including The Fair Labor Standards Act - A User's Manual and The FMLA: Understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act. Will teaches collective bargaining for the Labor Relations Information System.



Adam Arms

IBEW Local 125. Before becoming a labor lawyer, Adam was a staff attorney for the Metropolitan Public Defenders. He is now in house counsel and a business representative for IBEW Local 125. He has represented clients before the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, and the Oregon State Board of Nursing.



Arms Adam pic

Brad Avakian

Oregon Commisioner of Labor. For more than 20 years, Brad Avakian has been fighting to expand economic opportunity and ensure equality for all Oregonians. Early in his career, as an employment and civil rights attorney, Brad gave voice to workers who were seeking their fair wages, better working conditions, and freedom from discrimination in the workplace. Later, as a State Legislator, he passed laws to expand collective bargaining rights, crack down on predatory lending, and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Since 2008, Brad has served as Commisioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), where he has stepped up enforcement of Oregon's civil rights laws and partnered with Oregon's business and labor communities to strengthen workforce development efforts.

Brad Avakian

John Bishop

Co-Planner. Attorney, McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP. John has spent his entire legal career working exclusively for labor unions and their members in disputes with employers. He began his legal practice in New York City in 1985 and continued after he moved to Oregon in 1989. John has advocated for a wide variety of employees in both public and private sectors. He appears regularly before arbitrators and administrative law judges and occasionally in the courts. John is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law.

John Bishop

Bob Bussel

 Director & Associate Professor, Labor Education and Research Center. Since 2002, Bob has been associate professor of history and director of the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon. Bob was previously a labor educator at Penn State University for seven years and spent a decade as a union organizer and representative with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. 

Bob Bussel

Barbara Diamond 

Diamond Law. Barbara graduated from NYU School of Law and has practiced union-side labor law for almost 30 years. She is a frequent trainer for the Oregon State Bar, LERC, the Oregon Education Association, AFSCME, and other union clients. In 2012, Barbara began producing and directing documentary films for her union clients about diversity and inclusion issues. Her first film "Reveal Moments," premiered at the Oregon Labor Law Conference in 2012. Barbara continues to provide traditional training as well as to advocate for clients in arbitration and before state and federal labor boards.

diamond 2014

Jessica Dietz

Field Examiner, NLRB Subregion 36. Jessica has been a field examiner for the NLRB Portland Subregion 36 office since April 2006. Jessica graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and received a Master of Business Administration from Portland State University in 2003. Prior to joining the NLRB, Jessica worked for several years at the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.

Jessica Dietz Photo

Chris Frost

Swanson Thomas Coon & Newton. Chris, an attorney since 1993, specializes in representing injured workers in Oregon Workers' Compensation system. She was a staff attorney at the Workers' Compensation Board for 2 1/2 years before joining Swanson Thomas Coon & Newton in 2008. Chris is a strong advocate for her clients but also strives to make the system fairer for all injured workers. She is a co-chair of OTLA's Workers' Compensation policy group, executive committee member of Oregon State Bar's Workers' Compensation section, and is honored to have recieved the 2014 Doug Swanson Outstanding Workers' Compensation Attorney Award from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.

Chris Frost

Paul Gamson

Attorney at Law. Paul earned his law degree from Lewis & Clark College in 1982. After law school, he clerked for U.S. Disctrict Court Judge Gus J. Solomon. From 1984 until 2003, Paul was in private practice law where he specialized in labor, employment and election law representing various Unions. He has published articles on collective bargaining, labor law, and arbitration through the Oregon State Bar and other entities. In 2003, the Governor appointed Paul as a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board. Paul was appointed and served as Board Chair begining April 2004 until December 2011. Paul left the Board June 30, 2012, to return to private practice.

Paul Gamson

Paul Hays

Carney Hays & Marsh. Paul has been practicing labor law in the Pacific Northwest for forty years. Paul graduated from Washington State University in 1972 and from Willamette University College of Law in 1975. In addition to the standard fare of unfair labor practices and arbitrations, Paul has defended unions in DFR actions, advocated for unions in representation cases, secondary boycotts, jurisdictional disputes and injunctions.

Ronald K. Hooks

Regional Director, NLRB Region 19. Ron was appointed Regional Director of the Seattle Regional Office effective March 26, 2012. He is a graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis and Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. Ron began his career in 1972 as Field Attorney in Region 26 and left the NLRB the following year to work in the private sector. He returned to the agency in 1974 as a Field Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas Regional Office (Region 16). Ron eventually became the Regional Attorney in Memphis in 1992 and then served as the Regional Director in Memphis (Region 26) for twelve years before coming to Seattle.

Hooks Ronald pic

Elizabeth Joffe

McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP. After graduating from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1988, Liz worked at the UAW International in Detroit. Liz then attended the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1993. During law school, she worked with a Union-side firm in San Francisco and co-authored a Pocket Guide to Workplace Rights of Public Employees. Since finishing law school, Liz has worked as a staff attorney at the Oregon Advocacy Center, a disability rights organization, and with Union firms in Portland and Chicago. Liz's practice is limited to Labor law, representing labor organizations and their members.


Liz Joffe

Erious Johnson

Civil Rights Director, Oregon Department of Justice. Erious has been the Civil Rights Director of the Oregon Department of Justice since March 2014. Prior to taking this position, he was a solo practitioner focusing on civil rights violations and employment discrimination. Before moving to Oregon, he handled labor and employment matters for a corporate securities firm, defended the City of New York as Sr. Corporation Counsel and served as the Principal Law Clerk to a New York State Supreme Court Justice.

Erious Johnson Headshot

Howell Lankford

Arbitrator and Mediator. After graduating from Reed College, Howell has a few real jobs and then became a lawyer in 1977. He was an Administrative Law Judge for the Oregon ERB for five years and became a full time Arbitrator in 1984.


Howell Lankford

Richard Liebman

Barran Liebman. Although he is a management attorney, Rick is quick to point out that he has represented a number of Unions in their capacity as an employer. Rick has been representing employers in Labor and Employment Law since 1972. He recieved both his undergraduate and J.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkley. He is the former chair of the Tri-County Affirmative Action Association and the Oregon State Bar's Labor Law Section. He is management editor of the Oregon State Bar's book and a supplement entitled Labor and Employment Law, and has been an insturctor in EEO law at Portland State University's Professional Development Center for 20 years. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America (1995-present) and was selected as their Oregon Labor and Employment Attorney of the Year in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and listed as an Oregon Super Lawyer (2008 - present).

Rick Liebman

 Ray Lister

Organizer, IBEW Local 48. Ray accepted a position as an Organizer for Local 48 in January 2012 after nearly two decades in the electrical construction field. Originally from Tuscon, AZ, Ray and his wife made the decision to move to Oregon in 2002 to help his parents open an electrical contracting business. Ray spends his days talking to unrepresented electrical workers and developing new strategies for community outreach. He sits on the Washington State Labor Council's Education, Training & Apprenticeship Committe, is a delegate to the NW Oregon Labor Council and coaches a 5th grade Math Olympiad team at Boones Ferry Elementary School. Ray was trained to deliver the AFL-CIO Common Sense Economics course in 2014 and would be happy to coordinate and/or deliver the training for your organization.

Ray Lister

Kathryn Logan

Chair, Employment Relations Board. Kathryn earned her B.A. at Johnston College, University of Redlands, and her J.D. from Willamette University College of Law. She worked as an Administrative Law Judge for the Employment Relations Board, the Public Utiltity Commsision and on contract with numerous state agencies. Kathryn also worked for both the City of Salem and the State of Oregon as a Labor Relations Manager. From May 2006 through February 2012, she was a Senior Assistant Attorney General with the Oregon Department of Justice, advising state agencies on labor and employment matters. Kathryn was appointed to the Employment Relations Board effective March 1, 2012, and became Board Chair on January 7, 2013.


Norman Malbin

Co-Planner. Attorney at Law. Norman Graduated from the Univesity of Denver in 1971 and Northwestern School of Law - Lewis & Clark Law School in 1985. After working for two union law firms (1986-1986) he established his own firm in 1989 and remained there until 1998 when he closed his practice and went to work as General Counsel for IBEW Local 48. Norman founded the Oregon Labor Law Conference and has served as its principle planner and moderator since its inception.

Norman Malbin

Sharon Maynard

Bennett Hartman Morris & Kaplan. Sharon moved to Oregon in 1992 after obtaining her law degree that same year from Albany Law School. Her first job as a lawyer was for Metropolitan Public Defender (MPD) where, for over eight years she handled felony and misdemeanor criminal matters. During her last year and a half at MPD she represented allegedly mentallly ill persons in civil commitment proceedings. It was this experience that ignited an interest in representing disabled persons. In 2001, Sharon changed her practice from criminal law to Social Security Disability law, focusing her entire practice on representing claimants who have been denied Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Sharon represents claimants throughout the administrative appeals and into federal court. She is a frequent speaker on Social Security diability, speaking to claimants, medical providers and other interested persons.

Maynard Sharon pic

Richard McCracken

General Counsel, UNITE HERE. In addition to being General Counsel to UNITE HERE, Rich is a partner in two firms, McCracken STemerman & Holsberry and Davis Cowell & Bowe. He is also the principal outside counsel to the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association and is counsel to the Nevada State Federation of Labor. Rich's work has been concentrated in comprehensive strategic campaings, especially in support of organizing. As a result, the cases he has handled include landmakrs in securities and corporations law, as well as labor law, in the supreme courts of the United States, California, Nevada, and Oklahoma, and the United States appeals and district courts. His emphasis, however, has been not so much on litigation but on helpint to design powerful new techiniques that conform to and make use of the law but do not involve litigation.


Helen Moss

Senior Instructor, Labor Education and Research Center. Helen joined the faculty of the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center in 1999. She teaches many of LERC's core labor education classes as well as helping to develop curricula. Prior to coming to LERC, Helen worked as an organizer and advocate for various private and public sector unions, including UFW, HERE, SEIU and AFT. She recieved her Bachelors' Degree in Labor Studies from San Francisco State University, a Masters' Degree in Spanish and a Masters' Degree in Post-Secondary Education from Portland State University.




Margaret Olney

Bennett Hartman Morris & Kaplan. Margaret has practiced labor and employment law in Oregon for over 25 years. For 19 years, she had her own firm, where she also developed unique expertise in election law, advising unions and other progressive organizations like Basic Rights Oregon, Planned Parenthood and Our Oregon on a variety of issues arising out of Oregon's initiative process. In 2009-2010, she left private practice to serve as Special Counsel to the  Attorney General on election and administrative law issue and oversaw the Department of Justice's work in the area of child support and child welfare. Margaret returned to private practice in 2011, where she continues to be engaged in progressive politics and policy discussions.


Adam Rhynard

Board Member, Employment Relations Board. Adam earned his B.F.A. and M.A. at the University of Arizona and his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. Before moving to Oregon, he practiced extensively in the areas of labor, employment, and campaign finance law. From 2008-2013, he worked in neutral capacity as a Staff Attorney for the Workers' Copmensation Board, advising all members of that Board and drafting administrative orders to resolve employer-employee disputes under the Workers' Compensation Act. Adam was appointed to the Employment Relations Board effective March 15, 2013.


David Rosenfeld

Attorney, Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld. David Rosenfeld has been practicing Union law since 1973. He has argued many important cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, various federal and state courts of appeal and the NLRB. His book entitled Offensive Bargaining and the strategies he has developed have been used by Unions throughout the country as effective weapons against anti-union employers. One of the things David likes most about being a Union lawyer is helping Union officials be more offensive, aggressive and effective in dealing with difficult employers.

David has taught at Berkley Law since 2005. He has developed and taught a seminar at Boalt entiteld "Representing Low Wage Workers". He has taught the basic Labor Law Course and developed a seminar entitled "The Law of Organizing Workers" and "Current Topics in Employment and Labor Law". He also taught at Hastings College of the Law. He has recently co-authored a book entitled "California Workers Rights" and pracitictioned comments in the recently issued treatise "Labor Law Analysis and Advocacy" by Robert A. Gorman and Matthew W. Finkin published by Juris Publishing (2013).

David Rosenfeld

David Snyder

Snyder & Hoag, LLC. David has been a lawyer since 1980. He has represented Oregon and Washington public safety organizations (police, fire, corrections and emergency dispatch) and their members since 1987. From 1980 to 1987 he litigated FLSA and OSHA cases as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor in Boston, Massachusetts. David graduated from the Boston College School of Law in 1980. He is admitted to practice in Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts (inactive). His office is in Portland, Oregon.


Mike Tedesco

Attorney, Tedesco Law Group. Mike has over 30 years of experience handling labor and employment disputes. He has successfully conducted hundreds of labor arbitrations in the private and public sectors. He is a practitioner before the National Labor Relations Board and the Employment Reations Board of the State of Oregon, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon Law School, and a Senior Adjunct Facility Member at the Labor Education Research Center at the University of Oregon.


Mike Tedesco

Jason Weyand

Board Member, Employment Relations Board. Jason earned his B.A. from Oregon State University and his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. After law school, Jason served as a ERISA/Bankruptcy attorney in the Office of General Cousel of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. This federal agency in Washington D.C. was responsible for protecting and insuring the defined benefit pension plans of American workers in the private sector. While working for the federal government, he became active as a steward in his local union, ultimately leading him to accept a position as Legal Counsel with Oregon AFSCME in 2004. Jason served in that position unitl Govenor Kitzhaber appointed him to the Employment Relations Board effective July 1, 2012. Jason has been a member of the executive board of the Labor and Employment Section of the Oregon State Bar for several years, serving a Treasurer and Chair-Elect of the section. In addition, Jason served as a co-editor and authored two chapters in the Oregon State Bar's continuing legal education treatise on public sector labor and employment law.

Weyand use



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