Weekly Update: Are You Ready to Rock?

Labor 2016 Kickoff in Eugene on Saturday

Election season is right around the corner and Oregon's union movement is gearing up to elect strong candidates across the state.

To kickoff Labor 2016, we are hosting a canvass for union-endorsed Julie Fahey for State Representative and a campaign training next Saturday in Eugene. Here’s what you need to know to attend this exciting event:

Labor 2016 Kickoff: Campaign Training + Canvass for Julie Fahey

We know the political strength of the labor movement in Oregon is rooted in our activism, organizing, and volunteer work, but recruiting new volunteers is one of the most persistent challenges of the work we do. Saturday’s training will focus on strategies for mobilizing union members to become motivated and active in keeping our state a leader in the advancement of rights and protections for working people.

We hope to see you on Saturday, and please RSVP if you're planning to attend. Please reply to this email if you have any questions about the event, or about the Oregon AFL-CIO’s Labor 2016 program.


Rock Against the TPP is Coming to Oregon!

The biggest challenge we’re facing in the fight to stop the anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is that too many people still don’t know what it is.

That’s a real problem. And corporate lobbyists are hoping to exploit it to quietly rush the TPP through Congress this Fall. Fortunately, we’ve got a secret weapon to help sound the alarm: the Rock Against the TPP roadshow.

On Saturday, August 20, thousands of Oregonians will come together to demonstrate their unified opposition to the largest free trade agreement ever: the TPP. Join us for an afternoon teach-in at Portland State University covering the environmental consequences of the TPP, then march with us to a free concert and rally at Director's Park in downtown Portland from 5 - 10pm.

2:00 - 3:30pm: Teach In at PSU
4:00 - 4:45pm: March/Bike Ride (S. Park Blocks)
5:00 - 10:00pm: Concert and Rally Against the TPP (815 SW Park Ave)

Rock Against the TPP is a nationwide uprising and concert tour meant to raise awareness about the threats of the TPP and the likely vote in Congress right after the election. This massive event is sponsored by the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, the Sierra Club, Fight for the Future, Firebrand Records, and many others. For more information and to get your free tickets CLICK HERE.

Featuring: Anti-Flag (acoustic), Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly, Downtown Boys, Bell's Roar, Evan Greer, Taina Asili, and more.

If you want to help before or during the show, please fill out the volunteer form here.

Join us for this family-friendly concert with food carts, a beer garden, trade-themed carnival games, and more! Get your free tickets today!


Portland Specialty Baking Faces Class Action Lawsuit

Seven immigrant and refugee workers took a stand this week against harsh working conditions at Portland Specialty Baking, LLC (PSB), the same bakery who employed ruthless union busting tactics against an organizing effort six months ago.

The PSB production line workers filed a class action lawsuit claiming violations of overtime laws and paid sick leave, seeking to represent hundreds of current and former workers. PSB workers manufacture such baked goods as bagels, pretzels, and pies, that are sold under Franz and Rich’s brand names and at Starbucks, Walmart, Costco, Winco and Jamba Juice.


“We work long hours, sometimes more than 13 hours a day and often over 60 hours in a week,” said Ignacio Mazahua Reyes through a Spanish interpreter. “We are simply asking to be paid correctly the overtime that we are owed and to be able to take paid sick leave without fear that we will be written up or lose our jobs.”

The workers, through their attorneys at Northwest Workers’ Justice Project and the Law Office of Phil Goldsmith, allege they should be paid both daily manufacturing overtime when they work more than 10 hours a day and weekly overtime for hours over 40 in a week. They request injunctive relief to prevent shifts of more than 13 hours, illegal in manufacturing. The complaint also says PSB’s attendance policy violates the new Oregon Paid Sick Leave Law that went into effect on January 1, 2016 because workers receive points that can lead to discipline and written warnings for taking protected leave.

“The daily manufacturing and weekly overtime wages are meant to protect our clients, or at least compensate them, for the grueling working conditions they are experiencing,” said Corinna Spencer-Scheurich of the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project. “For many, this is one of their first jobs in the United States, and wage theft and labor violations don’t constitute a very warm welcome.”

“Some small changes in pay or schedules could make a big difference in our lives,” said Hsit Hsit through an interpreter. “It is hard to get enough rest. Without the lawsuit, the company would have very little reason to do things differently.”