Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries

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Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industry
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2011-2013 FY Budget:  $23,620,844
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Oregon Statutes, Chapter 651, Section 651
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Brad Avakian.jpg
Name:  Brad Avakian
Assumed office:  April 8, 2008
Compensation:  $72,000
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Oregon Executive Offices
GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries is a non-partisan, elected state executive position in the Oregon state government. Commissioners serve a term of four years. The position was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1903. It became non-partisan in 1995.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Brad Avakian. He was appointed to the office in April 2008 and won a full term in the November 2008 election.


The Oregon State Legislature created the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops in 1903. The head was originally known as the Labor Commissioner, but was changed to Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops in 1918. The name was changed again in 1930 to Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and in 1979 to the current Commissioner of Labor and Industries. The office was made non-partisan by the Legislature in 1995.[1]


Chapter 651, Section 651.030 of the Oregon Statutes establishes the qualifications of office as such:[2]

The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries shall be a citizen of this state who has been a resident of this state for over five years.

  • a citizen of Oregon
  • a resident of Oregon for over 5 years


Oregon elects labor and industries commissioners to four-year terms during gubernatorial election years. For Oregon, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 are all labor and industries commissioner election years.


See also: Oregon down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Brad Avakian defeated challenger Bruce Starr for re-election on November 6, 2012.

  • 2012 General Election Results for Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries
Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBrad Avakian* (D) Incumbent 52.5% 681,987
     Nonpartisan Bruce Starr* (R) 46.7% 606,735
     Nonpartisan Write-in 0.7% 9,616
Total Votes 1,298,338
Election Results via Oregon Secretary of State.


Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article V, Section 16.

If a vacancy occurs, the governor has the power to fill the vacancy by appointment until a successor is elected and qualified. If the vacancy occurs more than 61 days before a general election, the vacancy will be filled in that election.


The office of the Commissioner of Labor and Industries manages and oversees all programs of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

On its site the Bureau lists four principal duties:[3]

  • 1. protect the rights of workers and citizens to equal, non-discriminatory treatment through the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws that apply to workplaces, housing and public accommodations
  • 2. encourage and enforce compliance with state laws relating to wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment
  • 3. educate and train employers to understand and comply with both wage and hour and civil rights law
  • 4. promote the development of a highly skilled, competitive workforce in Oregon through the apprenticeship program and through partnerships with government, labor, business, and educational institutions.


The Insurance Commissioner's Office consists of two major divisions - the Technical Assistance for Employers Program and the Hearings Unit. The office also oversees the other three main divisions of the Bureau of Labor and Industries - Civil Rights, Wage and Hour, and Apprenticeship and Training.[3]

Technical Assistance for Employers Program

The Technical Assistance for Employers Program is within the Commissioner's Office. It "provides employers with a telephone information line, informational pamphlets and materials, and seminars and workshops to keep the business community informed about employment law compliance issues."[3]

Hearings Unit

The Hearings Unit is within the Commissioner's Office. It "processes contested cases that result when respondents request a hearing on the result of an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division or Civil Rights Division."[3]

Civil Rights Division

The Civil Rights Division "enforces laws granting individuals equal access to jobs, career schools, promotions, and a work environment free from discrimination and harassment."[3]

Wage and Hour Division

The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for "enforcing laws covering state minimum wage and overtime requirements, working conditions, child labor, farm and forest labor contracting, and wage collection. The division also regulates the employment of workers on public works projects."[3]

Apprenticeship and Training Division

The Apprenticeship and Training Division "regulates apprenticeship in a variety of occupations and trades and works with business, labor, government and education to increase training and employment opportunities."[3]

State budget

The budget for the Bureau of Labor and Industries in Fiscal Year 2011-2013 was $23,620,844.[4]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries was paid an estimated $72,000 according to the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

Since 1903, Oregon has had 9 labor commissioners. Prior to the office becoming non-partisan in 1995, 4 were Republican and 3 were Democratic.

Click "show" for former officeholders.

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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Contact information

800 NE Oregon St., Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Email: boli.mail@state.or.us
Phone: 971-673-0761
Ore. Relay TTY: 711-
Fax: 971-673-0762

See also

External links

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