Block, 62, grew up in Florida and Michigan, the daughter of hard-working migrant laborers. With a nursing license at Wayne State University, she worked in Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital before moving to Portland in 1974 for the weather. She worked as a nurse, then got a job as TriMet bus operator in 1981. She also married, had a daughter, divorced and remarried, and raised 11 foster children. Her daughter works at TriMet, as did her husband, now retired.
In the 34 years Block has worked at TriMet, she’s been a bus operator, fare inspector, field operations coordinator, and road supervisor. She’s also served several terms as a member of the union Executive Board.
Within the union, she’s known as an outspoken critic of TriMet management, regularly calling them out in her monthly column in the union newsletter. Her campaign for union president focused on countering attacks on union health and retiree benefits. Block said her unhappiness with the TriMet contract settlement — particularly some union concessions on health care — prompted her to run for office.
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