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Four Bucks a Gallon? Picketing for Progress

June 12, 2008

Springfield, OR – This morning, the Oregon AFL-CIO is picketing three gas stations in the Springfield area. Merlene Martin is a school employee in Cottage Grove, where she says coworkers are taking second jobs to make ends meet. She's not sure what reaction she and others will get with their picket signs, but she suspects many will agree with them.

"What is it going to gain? I'd think that everybody would picket over this issue! It's time to go out there and make a stand and say, 'Look at us, we're fed up! You've got to do something; you've got to look at this and do something.'"

Labor federation president Tom Chamberlain says that election year politicians are throwing around a lot of ideas and suggestions, but they don't seem to agree on anything as prices continue to climb.

"We need a long-term strategy where the oil companies have to come to the table and talk about their profits, create some transparency for the consumer and the auto industry. We're about five steps behind where we should be."

The labor federation points out that gas in 2000 was a $1.47 per gallon in Oregon, compared to this week when it hit $4. Activists don't expect the picket lines to influence prices at the pump, but they say if they can influence some Oregon voters they'll be happy.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR