Talking Union

A Career Capstone

Hershey spent 15 eventful months at Reed College, where he revamped the alumni magazine and admissions viewbook, provoked a flurry of positive national press and opened avenues of dialogue with campus neighbors before stepping away to establish Edward Hershey & Associates. But 15 months later one of his early consulting gigs, at AARP Oregon, led to an opportunity too tempting to resist. In January 2008 he became communications director of Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union.

The reporter who once formed a journalists’ union had come close to full circle, applying journalistic principles to support public employees under unrelenting economic pressure and political attack. Hershey lent his insights and talents to a leadership team that made SEIU Local 503 Oregon’s largest and most visible and influential union, supporting the workplace interests of members and giving voice to their role as a force for progressive public policy — championing long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, campaigning for equitable taxation, forging paths to opportunity for the poor, restraining spiraling medical costs and empowering frontline workers as proactive advocates for the people they serve and services they provide.

During his five years at SEIU 503, member communication migrated fluidly from print to electronic vehicles, unprecedented press coverage provided traction for the union’s bargaining, organizing and legislative agendas that were advanced as well by two huge statewide rallies, one honored with the International Labor Communications Association first prize for multi-media events.

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