Weekly Update: We Will Not Be Defeated

We Will Not Be Defeated

Working people at Verizon recently had a major victory, and because of the many sacrifices made and the unity on the picket line and beyond, we came out stronger than we went in.


We sent a clear message: When working people stand together to fight for what is right we will not be defeated. Check out this new video to learn more about the story of how Verizon employees stood up for their rights and won.


National AFL-CIO Endorses
Hillary Clinton

The General Board of the 12.5 million member National AFL-CIO voted last week to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. The endorsement reflects a comprehensive and democratic process initiated a year ago to capture the interests of the people represented by the federation.

Leaders of the Oregon AFL-CIO are reacting to this important endorsement by the National AFL-CIO:

“Hillary Clinton has proven herself to be a leader who shares the values of working people and our unions,” said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. “She has shown a steadfast commitment to the issues that matter to working people across the country. Donald Trump poses very dire consequences for workers, for unions, and for our country if he’s elected. The labor movement, in Oregon and nationwide, is united against him. That’s why we are ready to roll up our sleeves and work hard to improve the lives of all working people by fighting to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States.”


Oregon AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Barbara Byrd said, “this election is a choice between two forces: a strong voice for us, and a charlatan who absolutely does not value working people. We know Hillary Clinton has the right temperament, the experience, and the values to unite workers across the country in our mission to increase incomes at home and extinguish threats abroad.”

National AFL-CIO Presidential endorsements are determined by a two-thirds vote of the General Board which consists of all members of the Executive Council and the principal officer of each affiliated, national or international union, the principal officer of each trade and industrial department, a representative of each national constituency organization, allied retiree organizations, and young worker organizations recognized by the Federation, a representative of each chartered national community affiliate, and regional representatives of the state, area, and local central bodies selected by the Executive Council pursuant to a system promulgated by the Council.


We Must Do Better:
Latino Workers Face Greater Risk on the Job

Too many Latino workers face disease, major injury and death while laboring in dangerous jobs with inadequate safeguards. In 2014, 804 Latino workers died on the job, with 64% of these fatalities being Latino workers born outside of the United States. Latino worker deaths recently have decreased even though more Latinos are working in the construction industry than ever before: Nearly 70% of new construction jobs between 2012 and 2015 were filled by Latino workers. The job fatality rate among Latino workers has declined by 38% since 2001, when the rate of Latino worker fatalities reached its highest (6.0 per 100,000 workers). But Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of death on the job, with a fatality rate that is 9% higher than for workers overall.


The construction industry is the most deadly industry for Latino and immigrant workers, with 29% of all Latino fatalities and 26% of all immigrant fatalities occurring in this sector. Transportation accounts for 9% of Latino job-related deaths, agriculture for 8% and landscaping services for 8%. The number of Latino worker deaths in oil and gas extraction has increased more than 180% in the past five years.

Of all serious injury and illness cases that are reported, 14% are from Latino workers. Latino and immigrant workers often work in occupations with high rates of injury and in work environments where injuries are severely under-reported. For example, in 2015, an estimated 34% of meat and poultry workers were Latino, and the industry has extremely high rates of repetitive strain injuries, cuts and lacerations, falls due to wet working conditions and chemical exposures. Vulnerable workers, like Latino and immigrant workers, fear raising concerns on the job because of fear of retaliation by employers, like being assigned more dangerous work, getting fired or deported. Vulnerable workers often do not speak English, nor are they informed about their rights on the job.

This decline in Latino worker fatalities over the years did not happen by chance. Latino worker and advocacy communities demanded action from policymakers. Targeted programs informed Latino and immigrant workers that they have safety and health rights in the workplace, such as the right to demand protective controls on the job, to report unsafe working conditions and to refuse unsafe work. This increased attention also led to protective regulations and increased accessibility to training and materials in Spanish. But much more work remains to be done.

What can be done to protect Latino and immigrant working people on the job? We can:

  • Focus on high hazard industries with high Latino and immigrant worker populations;
  • Improve rights for all working people and strengthen collective bargaining laws;
  • Advance immigrant rights so all working people have full workplace protection; and
  • Strengthen whistle blower and anti-retaliation protections for reporting job injuries and hazards.

Read more about Latino and immigrant worker safety and health issues in the 2016 AFL-CIO's Death on the Job report.


New Minimum Wage Rules Announced

Last Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ (BOLI) announced new rules for Oregon’s minimum wage. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain released the following statement in response to the new rules:

“The Oregon AFL-CIO is pleased that the minimum wage rules presented by BOLI recognize that employees should generally be paid a wage according to the region in which work is being performed. However, we believe the rules could be both stronger and more protective for working people. Under the new rules, an employee must work more than 50% of their time during a pay period in a different region before a different wage is required; a pay period can be an entire month, which means some workers could spend two weeks in a higher wage region without the higher wage being required.

We are generally satisfied with the outcome of rulemaking by BOLI and look forward to seeing thousands of minimum wage earners in Oregon get their first increase on July 1st.”