At a time when mainstream news coverage of union and labor issues is virtually non-existent,
KMUZ’s Willamette Wake-Up offers listeners rare news, insight and coverage of labor issues on
a local and state level.
The Labor Report airs at around 8 a.m. on the last Friday of each month with show host Berto
(Bob) Rossi of Salem, a long-time social justice advocate, union organizer and champion for
Berto has been recording and running interviews on local and regional working-class struggles
for over six months now. These segments have included interviews with Mindy Merritt,
President of the Salem-Keizer Education Association (SKEA), Robert Camarillo and Ryan
Tribbet on the state of the labor movement and on the building and construction trades in
Oregon, and Steve Hall of the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees
(AFSCME) on contract negotiations with the City of Salem. More recent reports have focused on
critical local union contract bargaining that is underway and working-class political issues.
The August show will feature a reflection on labor history and an interview with Val Hoyle,
Oregon's Commissioner of Labor. A special Labor Day show will feature Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) Local 503 members and staff at the center of union contract
negotiations in higher education, and the personal stories of some SEIU Local 503 union
Berto has a long history of union work. At age 19 he became an organizer with the International
Ladies Garment Workers’ Union in New York and was later active in the Midwest, Appalachia
and the upper Southern states. Locally, he served as an organizer and contract specialist for SEIU
Local 503, and is a retired member of Communications Workers of America Local 7901. He is
also writing a book on the social history of Colorado coal mining communities in the 1920’s.