The state of Oregon unions: Strong, United, Galvanized

After this morning’s United States Supreme Court decision in Janus vs AFSCME, leaders from Oregon’s largest public-sector unions say they are already hearing from members pledging to stay united.

Stacy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Oregon AFSCME Council 75, said, “The Oregon labor movement is growing and we know that the working people of our state will continue to stay together to protect middle-class jobs with good benefits and wages.” Chamberlain pointed out that there have been several successful organizing efforts over the past several months, from faculty at Oregon State University and Oregon Tech, to Burgerville workers, to Volunteers of America.

Based on history in Oregon, the Supreme Court ruling is not expected to reduce Oregon union members’ belief in the importance of uniting for more voice in the workplace.

According to SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger, that belief is based on fact. “In 2014, the Supreme Court handed down a Janus-type decision against homecare workers. Four years later, SEIU 503’s homecare workers are stronger and more united than ever—and through their unity and strength, they won one of the highest homecare wages in the nation.”

“While the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a long-expected decision in the Janus case that was backed by anti-worker forces, Oregon union members remain dedicated to sticking together, uniting more working people in unions and working with our state’s political leaders to create more good, union jobs,” according to Tom Chamberlain, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO.

John Larson, a high school English teacher from Hermiston and President of the Oregon Education Association, added, “While the Supreme Court’s decision is both expected and disappointing, we know that the real decision about our union’s strength doesn’t lie in any court’s hands—it lies in the hands of union members. I know that Oregon’s teachers and education support professionals will continue to join together and win for our students, our families, and our communities.”