Al Hein, a well-respected attorney and member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) from 1980 to 1997, made an extraordinary contribution to the development of Oregon labor law under the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act. Throughout his career, Al supported collective bargaining and the resolution of disputes through arbitration as ways to improve labor-management relations.
Al graduated from Portland’s Jefferson High School in 1956 and won a partial scholarship in journalism to Pacific University in Forest Grove. Before starting college, he worked the cash register and filled book orders at the J.K. Gill Company textbook warehouse as a member of Teamsters Local 206. In the fall of 1957, after significant urging from his wife, Judy, he started classes at Pacific. In the summer of 1958, The Oregonian newspaper hired him as a part-time sports writer; he worked for the paper at night and pursued college studies full-time during the day.
In the fall of 1959, during severely strained labor-management relations at The Oregonian, the union representing its employees entered a mutual aid pact. When Stereotypers’ Union Local 49 decided to go on strike in October, soon most union members went on strike and were out of their jobs. Al had to drop out of college then and, to make ends meet, go to work full time back at the book warehouse.
Some of the striking workers formed a new newspaper, The Portland Reporter. Al joined it as a sports reporter and was able to resume college, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1963. In the fall of 1964, The Reporter published its last issue, and he needed to find another job. He did some freelance writing until the fall of 1965, when the Portland Public School District hired him into a position in its public information department. Again with Judy’s encouragement, he simultaneously started night law school. Four years later—as a school district employee, husband, and father of two grade-school children—Al graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School.
In 1971, the Oregon Education Association hired Al as its public relations director. When the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act became effective in October of 1973, he started work on a special OEA bargaining project and then spent six years organizing and representing instructors at community colleges throughout Oregon.
In 1980, Al was appointed to ERB and served with distinction until May 1997. During those years, he was the lead author on an extraordinary number of landmark ERB cases involving unfair labor practice complaints and representation petitions.
After leaving the board, Al was a respected labor-management arbitrator who especially enjoyed golf, travel, and socializing with his many friends.
Many of Al’s friends and colleagues honored his spirit and accomplishments by establishing this memorial fund in 2007. The award is issued annually to an applicant who exemplifies the qualities of professional dedication and intellectual insight that Al brought to the study and advancement of labor law in Oregon. Donors include labor and management lawyers and practitioners, unions, neutrals, academics, the Oregon State Bar Labor and Employment Law Section, and the Oregon Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA).