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Labor Staff

 To contact the Economic & General Welfare department, send an e-mail here or contact the individual staff members below:


Alan D. Yoder, JD
Executive Director for Labor Relations
Phone: (503) 293-0011 ext. 1302
Before becoming the Executive Director for Labor, Alan Yoder was ONA’s in-house attorney 2000 to July, 2015. During that time he represented ONA in Unfair Labor Practice proceedings and arbitrations, gave general legal advice to ONA’s membership and staff, negotiated collective-bargaining agreements, helped with organizing campaigns, and assisted with ONA’s extensive legislative agenda. Prior to his work at ONA, Mr. Yoder worked for a boutique employment law firm and represented workers in class action suits for unpaid wages. He completed law school at Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 1998 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1994. Mr. Yoder also co-authored the chapter on Unfair Labor Practices for the 2011 revision of the Oregon State Bar’s "Labor and Employment Law: Private Sector treatise.
Gary Aguiar, BA, MS, PhD
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 444-0690
Prior to joining ONA in 2015 as a labor relations representative, Gary Aguiar was an academic. He was most recently employed for 16 years as a professor of political science at South Dakota State University. At SDSU, he was very active in the faculty labor union in many capacities, including state president, where he served as chief negotiator for a particularly contentious and lengthy round of negotiations. Gary also has extensive experience in leadership development and political advocacy. Born and raised in Hawai'i, he walked his first strike line at the age of 8 and canvassed for a state legislative candidate when he was 16.
At ONA, Gary has developed strong bargaining units in small towns, which fostered successful campaigns. In Florence, Peace Harbor nurses ran an effective nine-month bargaining effort that resulted in wages and working conditions that match Eugene hospitals. The campaign included a unity break attended by one-third of the bargaining unit, a standing-room-only community meeting, and a visible informational picket. In Klamath Falls, Sky Lakes nurses recently concluded a victorious contract campaign that led to the “best contract we have had since I have been involved,” according to one long-time leader. In less than two years, the membership rate at Sky Lakes tripled, which gave our negotiators power to win an accelerated step scale, true shared governance in vigorous UPCs, and strong anti-bullying language.
Susan Bruce, RN
Labor Representative
Phone: (541) 261-8359
Susan Bruce, RN, joined the ONA in February 2010 as a labor relations representative. She has worked at Providence Medford Medical Center as a registered nurse in the CCU since 1995 where she earned the 2005 PMMC Employee of the Year award. Before joining ONA, Susan spent a year working on the Providence Medford Medical Center nurses' organizing campaign leading up to their first contract.
Amber Cooper
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011 ext 1308
Amber Cooper, BA joined ONA in 2016 as a labor representative. Before joining ONA, she spent twelve years as a steward, union officer, local president, and worked as local staff and lead negotiator for the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation at University of Oregon (UO), and before that at University of Michigan (UM), University of Illinois-Chicago, and University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. While in higher education organizing, she helped with eight contract campaigns, yearly organizing drives, political organizing, and contract enforcement. While at UM, she helped organize a historic disability rights campaign securing a specially designated fund, and winning significant improvements in workplace accommodations. She also helped with an organizing drive to attempt to gain collective bargaining rights for research assistants at UM. Most recently she acted as lead negotiator during UO's 8-day strike, winning over four weeks of paid parental and sick leave, ending all layoffs for low enrollment and securing a 10% wage increase over 2 years. Amber was born and raised in Portland, OR but went to undergrad at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa before beginning her grand tour of the midwest. In her spare time she competes for a world champion roller derby team, the Rose City Rollers.
Lisa Donoho
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext. 1319
Bio coming soon.
Aaron Giesa
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext. 1370
Aaron joined ONA as a labor representative in 2019. A life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, Aaron has been working professionally in the labor movement since 2006, during which time he has helped thousands of nurses and other healthcare workers to form unions, win and enforce labor contracts, and effectively advocate for their collective interests.

In those rare moments when he’s not organizing or thinking about organizing, Aaron can often be found reading or playing music.
Brian Howard
Labor Representative
Phone: (501) 293-0011 ext. 1352
Brian Howard joined ONA in May 2017. During his 12 years working in healthcare unions he has organized over 2,000 previously nonunion workers, and trained scores of successful organizers and member-leaders. One of the highlights of his work in the labor movement was coordinating Seattle healthcare workers in the Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign.

Brian was born and raised in union household in Missouri. Inspired by family experiences and a growing interest in social justice during his college years, he decided to devote his life to empowering working people to speak out and seek change in their workplaces. Since then, Brian has endeavored to help health care workers find their voices in a wide range of environments and locations, from Baltimore, New York and Kansas City to Seattle, and now Portland. The belief that nurses can have a profound impact on our society by advocating for themselves and their patients has shaped Brian’s career. An essential role of his work is identifying and developing of worksite leadership to reflect the diversity of their community.

Brian works with nurses all day, and then comes home to his wife, an RN pursuing a PhD in nursing at OHSU with an emphasis on palliative and end-of-life care. He also has two adorable pets, and dog and a cat who (usually) get along without a negotiated contract.
Sally LaJoie
Contract Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext. 1350
Bio coming soon

Jaime Newman, BS
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011 ext. 1331
Jaime is a labor relations representative at ONA. Jaime has over 16 years experience working in the health care industry, first as a health care worker and then as union staff. She is originally from Indiana where she received her bachelor's in labor relations and then went on to pursue a master's in labor relations at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Jaime has worked with unions in Oregon and California and is a seasoned labor organizer.

Courtney Niebel, BA
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 560-4668
Courtney Niebel joined the ONA in 2005 as an Organizer. She has assisted in organizing several unrepresented facilities including Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Providence Home Health nurses and Providence St. Vincent per diem nurses in Portland. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in english and political science from California State University, East Bay.

Jocelyn Pitman, BS
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011 ext. 1320
Jocelyn Pitman, BS, joined ONA in 2016. Prior to coming to ONA, she worked at OFNHP, representing and organizing a variety of health care professionals, predominately RNs at Kaiser Permanente. She has over 12 years of community and union organizing ranging from accretion bargaining, wage and benefit bargaining, steward training, managing campaigns, handling complex disability cases, advanced grievance handling, arbitration preparation, and a variety of discipline cases. She received a Cesar Chavez Human Rights award for a successfully run workplace bullying campaign in 2010. She graduated from Portland State with a BS in Social Science. She has worked in health care in California, which is where she was raised. She has been a Portland resident since 2001. In her spare time she enjoys reading suspense novels, running and spending time with her family.
Renee Ruiz
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext. 1330
Renee was born and raised in Kansas to a labor activist family. She has spent the better part of the last two decades supporting and working in the Labor Movement. She worked with nurses around the country—helping them organize, advocate in the legislature, get involved in electoral politics, negotiate collective bargaining agreements, and enforce their contracts. Most recently, Renee was the Organizing Director for a UFCW Local in Tacoma and a commissioner for the Washington State Nursing Quality Care Assurance Commission (aka State Board of Nursing).

Ateusa Salemi, RN
Labor Representative
Phone: (541) 571-8552
Ateusa Salemi, BS, RN, CWCN, joined ONA as a labor relations representative in 2014 after practicing as an RN and Wound/Ostomy care nurse at a rural critical access hospital and a larger regional medical center. She began her nursing career in 2007 and has been an ONA member since day one. She has served her local Bargaining Unit both as a local unit rep and as a member of the Negotiations Team. She received ONA’s Rising Star award for 2010 and her Bargaining Team was awarded the 2010 Adversity Award after they successfully led their BU through a challenging contract negotiation. She was appointed to the Cabinet on Economic and General Welfare in 2012. She has also served at the statewide level as a convention delegate. Ateusa has a long background with both nursing and labor, walking a picket line at a young age with her mother during a nursing strike. Ateusa lives in Eastern Oregon with her husband and 5 children.
Julie Serrano
Labor Representative
Bio coming soon.
Sarahi Soto-Talavera
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext. 1318
Sarahí joined ONA as a Labor Representative in 2019. She began her organizing career as a student-organizer at the University of Texas at Austin before embarking on other organizing projects with Unite HERE and SEIU. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from UT-Austin. Sarahi is dedicated to supporting members as they continue to build a strong union. Outside of work, Sarahí hopes to continue her quest for the best tacos in Portland and is open to recommendations.

Claire Syrett, BA
Labor Representative
Phone: (541) 953-7736
Claire Syrett joined ONA in December of 2014. Claire brings a wealth of union and community organizing and advocacy experience to her role as labor relations representative. She served two years as the executive director of a Eugene based non-profit working to prevent childhood obesity and five years as the field organizer and then field director for the ACLU of Oregon. Claire also worked as an organizer for the Eugene/ Springfield Solidarity Network/Jobs with Justice and Lane Community College Education Association, and as a bargaining cadre for the Oregon Education Association. Claire is a dedicated union activist with a long history of working to build labor power. She was chosen as the Emerging Labor Leader by the Lane County Central Labor Council in 2004.

In addition to her ONA positon, Claire is an active community member currently serving as Eugene City Councilor for Ward 7 where she led the successful effort to pass an earned paid sick time ordinance covering all workers in the city of Eugene. Claire lives in the Whiteaker neighborhood with her husband Davey, a professional chocolatier, and their two dogs. Together they enjoy hiking and birding throughout Lane County as well as western and central Oregon.

Elizabeth Weltin
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext 1366
Elizabeth Weltin, BA, BSN, MSN, joined ONA as a labor relations representative in 2019. She enjoyed her career as a Nurse-Midwife, serving in public health in Southern Oregon and American Samoa with the National Health Service Corp. Elizabeth has lived and worked in Oregon since 1994 (with the exception of her time in American Samoa). She stepped out of practice to raise a family. Elizabeth has invested her time and energy in her local community of Bend, OR, where she is a local activist, organizer, volunteer and campaign manager. When not busy with these activities, Elizabeth enjoys traveling the world with her husband and son. Elizabeth is excited to foster and support the relationships with nurse membership that will lead to effective and strong bargaining units.
Joseph West, BA
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011ext. 1369
Joseph West joined ONA in 2019 with a diverse background in internal and external union organizing. His first experience was as an external organizer for health care workers in his home state of Florida for about nine months. Following that, he worked on contract campaigns throughout Oregon's Willamette Valley as an internal organizer with SEIU Local 49, and also organized several new units into our union at the Samaritan Hospital System. He became a Council Representative with AFSCME Council 75, where he bargained several contracts in the Salem area, and then drafted the organizing plan for empowering community mental health workers throughout the Portland Metro Area. His most recent experience involved working at OFNHP Local 5017 where he helped create a staffing campaign, including an LOU obligating the employer to create a staffing model for each workgroup, Charge Nurse Escalation Plans, and standards for safe outpatient nursing practice.
Tyler Whitmire
Labor Representative
Tyler has spent the majority of his adult life fighting for better working conditions and livable wages. He has helped manage political campaigns on behalf of AFL-CIO, AFT, SEIU, and many of the trade Unions to help over 30 individual candidates and 10 initiatives across six states. Then he was a lobbyist for OSEA/AFT for one session before becoming an OSEA field representative where he has worked for over seven years. One of his proudest accomplishments in the past few years has been bringing greater safety into the public education system by getting the OSHA rules rewritten that excluded schools from many safety reporting standards. He earned a BS from EOU in Political Science, Philosophy, and Economic and an ExMPA from PSU.
Tyler Woodard
Labor Representative
Phone: (503) 293-0011 ext. 1354
Tyler Woodard joined ONA in 2019. He previously worked for OFNHP, AFSCME, and UFCW. Growing up in a union household, Tyler saw the benefits of a union wage and union job security. When he graduated from college, he decided to help other working class children have the same opportunities that he had growing up.



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Oregon Nurses Association
18765 SW Boones Ferry Rd. Suite 200, Tualatin, OR 97062
(503) 293-0011 or 800-634-3552 (Oregon Only)