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Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Recognizing International Workers' Day
International Workers' Day
May 1 is International Workers' Day and continues to be a rallying cry for workers worldwide to mobilize around pro-labor actions in their cities. In Salem, advocates of Driver Licences For All took to the Capitol:
New Podcast Episode is Live!
Check out the latest podcast episode of The Voice of Oregon’s Workers. We sit down with Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain to discuss retirement security and our state’s PERS system.
OSEA Officer Gets Freedom Foundation Bulletin Boards Taken Down
“What’s in it for them?” Mary Hofer asks several times in an April guest column published in the Bend Bulletin. She’s referring to the billboards she would see on her way to work and multiple mailers she’d received, paid for by the Freedom Foundation under the Opt Out Today name, urging public employees to drop their union to save money.
Hofer is an OSEA member and elected officer on their Board of Directors. "Give yourself a raise!" it says. "Opt out of your union today!" She had to ask herself: Who is willing to pay close to a thousand dollars a month just to save me $25? What's in it for them? Hofer educates readers about the Freedom Foundation's tactics and why corporations are so invested in destroying our unions
Since the piece ran, the billboards have come down. We don’t know how much of this is due to Hofer’s advocacy, but we know that the Oregon Union Movement will never back down and always fight for a more fair and just economy.
We Must Do More: Oregon Loses Union Ironworker
On Sunday, April 28 we commemorated Workers Memorial Day. The day before, a crane collapsed in Seattle killing four people, one of whom was Oregon ironworker Travis Corbet of Local 29. To assist our Brother's family during this tragedy, donations can be made at Ironworkers USA Credit Union. Call 206-835-0150 or 1-877-769-4766 or make a donation online here. Thank you for your support of these families.
The Labor Movement is committed to redoubling our efforts to end job-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses. The National AFL-CIO just released its annual Death on the Job report, which highlights horrifying numbers about how dangerous work continues to be:
The Trump administration continues its assault on workers, not just by rigging the rules of the economy in favor of the major businesses and the 1%, but also by reducing our ability to collectively bargain for better working conditions while also promoting legislation that diminishes worker safety, according to the report.
At the Salem Workers Memorial Day observance on Friday, April 26, 49 names were read of Oregonians who lost their lives on the job. This number is far too high, and we must continue the fight to make all Oregon workplaces safer and ensure that every Oregon worker comes home from each work day in the coming year.
Student Success Act Passes the House
Tonight, the Student Success Act, the bill to bring game changing investments to our schools, cleared a major hurdle when the Oregon House of Representatives voted to send it to the Senate for a vote and after over 6 hours of heated debate.
This is a major milestone years in the making, and it brings us one step closer to investing $2 billion in Oregon students. By requiring large companies to pay their fair share in taxes, we can make our schools stronger and our tax system fairer. Governors and Legislatures have been trying for decades to fix our broken tax system and fully fund our schools in Oregon, and this bill presents an incredible opportunity to address long overdue funding challenges.
Portland Pride Parade - June 16. The Oregon AFL-CIO and affiliates will be marching in the parade in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. If you are interested in marching or being involved in planning, please contact Emily@oraflcio.org.
Rights At Risk
Our friends at the National Employment Law Project released a report:
Ride-hailing giant Uber and aspiring “Uber of home services” Handy, along with other tech-companies-turned-service-providers, have been conspiring with powerful corporate allies and lobbyists on a far-reaching, multi-million-dollar influence campaign to rewrite worker classification standards for their own benefit—and to workers’ detriment. Their goal: to pass policies that lock so-called “gig” workers who find jobs via online platforms into independent contractor status, stripping them of the basic labor rights and protections afforded to employees and allowing the companies to evade payroll taxes and worker lawsuits. This report sketches the policy campaign, the cast of characters involved, when and where they have mounted efforts, what might be driving them, and the tactics they are using to advance their cause. It concludes with some examples of successful resistance to these efforts, from which lessons can be drawn for the fights to come.
We Need a Better NAFTA
President Donald Trump has signed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It’s supposed to replace the old North American Free Trade Agreement, which he called “the worst trade deal” this country has ever seen.
But guess what? As far as working families are concerned, the USMCA is just more of the same.
The “new” USMCA fails to raise wages. It also locks in high U.S. medicine prices. Big Pharma rigged the rules: NAFTA 2.0 guarantees extended monopoly rights for pharmaceutical corporations to block generic competition. This would tie the hands of Congress to change the policies that lead to high drug prices, both now and in the future.
It’s not just about us—a better NAFTA could protect working people in the United States, Canada and Mexico by guaranteeing decent wages, reining in high drug prices and ensuring the freedom to join a union, and by standing up to corporate greed.
Raise the Wage!
This week, The entire labor movement is calling on Congress to pass legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The federal minimum wage has been fixed at $7.25 for a decade. The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. The bill would also automatically increase the minimum wage so that it keeps pace with the average worker’s pay and gradually raise the tipped minimum wage, which has been stuck at $2.13 per hour since 1991—nearly 30 years.
Take action NOW. Call your representative and tell them to #RaisetheWage.
Reject Kavanaugh Today
As Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination hearings get underway, working people are demanding a Supreme Court justice committed to upholding the rights of working families. Unfortunately, Kavanaugh has a long track record of ruling against working people and in favor of greedy corporations.
The Senate should oppose Kavanaugh and call on President Donald Trump to nominate someone who will protect workplace safety, access to health care, and the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively. It’s up to each of us to make sure our senators hear from workers—loud and clear—right now. Call your senator now to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation as Supreme Court justice.
Ready to Run for Office?
The Oregon Labor Candidate School is accepting applications for the next class of union members ready to run for public office. The deadline is September 14, 2018
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