Solidarity with Orlando
National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre released the following statement in response to the murder of 49 people at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida:
Bayard Rustin said to be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true. We in the labor movement are not afraid. We are resolved to do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. The truth as we know it is both devastating and infuriating. Forty-nine souls were lost in a cowardly act of violence. These are our brothers, sisters and friends. At least one was our member.
For the LGBTQ community, clubs like Pulse are a space where people can feel safe and be their true selves. Sunday’s horrific act is a reminder of how fragile that safety can be. While we have made undeniable progress toward equality, too many in our country still face derision, discrimination and violence. These flames of hatred have been fanned by those in public life who want to marginalize an entire group of people for political gain. It’s despicable and it must stop.
But this was more than just an attack on the LGBTQ community. The victims were overwhelmingly young and Latino. Sunday’s massacre was an assault on everything our movement stands for: equality, justice, solidarity and inclusion.
It was also an extraordinarily difficult situation for our first responders, who had the traumatic job of sorting the dead from the living, effectively working in a war zone. We thank the police, firefighters and health care providers who saved lives and continue to care for the injured. We will stand with them in the trying days ahead.
Labor is one big family, made up of people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities. As a family, we will work to provide comfort to our brothers and sisters in Orlando and across the United States. And we will make it our daily mission to ensure America’s workplaces and union halls are safe and free from bigotry.
There will be some who try to use this tragedy to further divide us, to pit communities against each other and scapegoat entire faith traditions. Let us be perfectly clear: giving in to division and fear will only add insult to injury. This is a moment for us to come together, embrace our common humanity and take the necessary steps to make our country safer, stronger and more united.
In Portland, union members will participate in the annual Portland Pride Parade on Sunday, June 19th to show our solidarity with the LGBTQ movement and to send the message that working people are united against hate. If you’re interested in joining us, please click here for information about where to meet up.
Stand Up for Union Jobs at
Nabisco / Mondelez
Tomorrow, June 16 at 10:00am, union members and activists will rally outside of the Mondelez Plant in North Portland in support of keeping Nabisco products made in the United States. Click here to learn more about the event.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Crew Ratifies Contract!
The run crew of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) voted 61-0 Monday night in favor of ratifying their first-ever union contract.
The contract is the culmination of 665 days of joining in union among the crew members, who provide all stage operations, wardrobe, hair and wig, lighting, video, and sound services for the festival, which was founded in 1935. Effective June 13, 2016, to November 14, 2019, the contract will provide the crew improved wages, job security with full-time work and a defined disciplinary procedure, protected benefits, increased vacation and sick time, and a labor management committee.
“We work alongside some of the best technicians in the industry, and for one of the best theatres in the country,” said Amanda Sager, OSF Sound Engineer. “Through this process we’ve worked together to create an environment which allows and encourages every employee to do their best work, and every patron to have the best possible experience.”
With the ratification of the contract, the women and men of the OSF show run crew will form the new IATSE Local 154, chosen for the number of William Shakespeare’s collection of sonnets. IATSE Local 154 was the Seattle-based projectionist local from 1908 to 1999, and the local number will be carried on by sisters and brothers that spoke up together to create a better workplace.
The OSF crew were indivisible throughout the entire organizing and negotiating process. The negotiating team for the entertainment workers consisted of representatives from each of the festival’s nine backstage departments: Jack Buckley (Stage Operations); Cara Wade and Courtney Cunningham (Wardrobe); Rosey Johnson and Devon Ash (Hair and Wigs); Maria Chunn and Sarah McKenney (Lighting); and Amanda Sager and Valerie Lawrence (Sound).
“The crew became more unified through the process of negotiating of the contract knowing that it would result in fairness and equity for all,” said IATSE International Representative Christopher “Radar” Bateman.