Paul Ryan in Oregon
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is in Oregon today to fundraise for Congressman Greg Walden at a dinner where they’re charging almost $3000 per plate. This comes just one month after Ryan and Walden fought to take healthcare away from 23 million Americans and 350,000 Oregonians.
These national attacks on healthcare have appeared in our own backyard: There’s a dangerous plan underway to repeal pieces of the Oregon Healthcare Protections Bill, which means raising premiums or removing coverage for nearly half a million Oregonians. They have no viable plan to replace healthcare for 350,000 Oregonians, throwing our state’s healthcare system into complete chaos. It’s a move straight out of Paul Ryan’s playbook and it’s the kind of thing working people in Oregon have always rallied against.
We Can Fix NAFTA
NAFTA is being renegotiated, which means working people have an opportunity to fix it. The first step to fixing this free-trade agreement is to open the negotiations so that average citizens, not just corporate lobbyists and CEOs, can participate. So far, it’s not clear the negotiators heard us—but you can help us keep up the pressure.
Even if they do keep the doors closed on the talks, we must address the rules of the deal. The first rules that need replacement are the labor rules. The labor rules determine whether the playing field is fair for all workers or whether global corporations can treat us like pawns, bidding down our wages and working conditions as they increase their profits at our expense.
Given our long experience of trying to use trade rules to protect rights and freedoms for working people, we know what works and what doesn’t. We won’t fall for vague promises about NAFTA being the best deal ever for working people. Instead, we will be looking for specific provisions.
A fair North American deal will:
- Ensure that all three countries protect fundamental labor rights as set for in the International Labor Organization’s eight core conventions.
- Establish an independent monitoring and enforcement entity so that governments can’t use delay tactics to deny our rights.
- Establish prompt enforcement tools.
- Ensure that goods traded between the countries are made by workers being paid living wages.
- Protect migrant workers from fraud and abuse.
- Protect all workers from discrimination and trafficking.
- Contain effective tools to continually lift our wages and working conditions, rather then putting a ceiling on what we can achieve.
- Ensure that no communities are left behind—we must all prosper together or we won’t prosper at all.
Since the dawn of the modern trade era (roughly 1990), no trade deal has ever put working families first. But we know the rules we need to make it happen. But no one will fight for those rules if we don’t lead.
Are you ready to join us?
Urge your representative to call for open, transparent NAFTA renegotiations.
Hold the Line on Workplace Protections
The ability to exploit any person in the workplace undermines standards for us all. That’s why we all need to have each other’s backs.
More than 1 million men and women have been living and working in our country for years under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These programs offer stability to immigrant working people and allow them to contribute more fully to our communities, our unions and our economy.
But now, these hardworking people face real risk of having their status and work permits stripped away, so the Trump administration needs to hear from us right now.
Gerdine Vesagne is a UNITE HERE member and is one of the more than 50,000 Haitian immigrants who are facing deportation if TPS expires—even though she’s been living and working here legally for nearly a decade. If DACA and TPS protections are stripped away, the impact on working people and their families could be devastating.
DACA and TPS benefit all working people in our country by ensuring that more than 1 million immigrant women and men have the status to stand up for their rights on the job. These crucial protections help to lift standards for wages and working conditions across the board.
In our fight to protect and value every person who works in our country, this is the front line.
Working People Keep Us Safe, Informed
In ways large and small, working people helped America learn about and enjoy Monday’s rare total solar eclipse safely and with minimal disruptions, and union members were involved at every step of the way:
School teachers (members of the AFT and the National Education Association) used the solar eclipse as a teachable moment about science and history.
Electrical workers—members of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Utility Workers (UWUA) unions—balanced America’s electrical grid, as nearly half of the nation’s solar capacity fell into shadow, causing a rolling dip of nearly 9,000 megawatts. Yet, thanks to workers at coal, hydro, nuclear and natural gas power plants, the grid didn’t fluctuate at all.
Journalists and media professionals—members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA)—brought us the stories, and NASA scientists—members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)—helped us all learn more about the earth and our solar system.
All that the rest of us had to do was enjoy it, and we did.