Our Union family has lost a selfless and courageous champion of labor and equality with the passing of James Jacobson.
In a world that today seems so violent, revengeful, hurtful…James provided that consistent strength of a positive approach to his hard work in making sure SEIU Local 503 members had a strong voice in our legislature. James spent much of his time building Union power with his SEIU Sublocal 085 at the University of Oregon and on our Board of Directors, and as a voice against discrimination and for respect with the Lavender Caucus. He continued that positive work as an active member of the Retiree Sublocal 001.
I first met James almost 20 years ago when we both served on our Union’s political action committee, the Citizen Action for Political Education (CAPE), to support those candidates who support labor and the jobs we do. He relished bringing together the different viewpoints and backgrounds of our elected CAPE leaders from all over the state to ensure we spoke with one labor voice. In so doing he made sure that every member voice was heard.
Since those early days, I was able to work with James in many different union efforts, committees, and actions. In all he represented the best of our Union. He built us up, he invited people in, he strove to improve our Union, he made us all better.
I mourn that we have lost James from our Union family. We will not be the same without him. I also celebrate his life, his always present smile, and his labor legacy.