The Fight for Healthcare Is Not Over
Republican leaders are back with another version of the Affordable Care Act repeal, known as the Graham–Cassidy plan, and it’s worse than the last one. Millions of Americans would lose health insurance because of cuts to Medicaid and the undoing of the ACA’s coverage expansions. It would eliminate guarantees that health insurance must cover maternity care, prescription drugs or other essential health benefits.
A previous report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said similar cuts would take coverage from 32 million working people. Working families want better health care—and that’s what Congress should be focused on.
Governor Brown Signs Fair Work Week into Law
Oregon Senate Bill 828, aka the Fair Work Week/Fair Scheduling bill, was signed into law today by Governor Kate Brown, making Oregon the first in the nation to offer schedule predictability for employees in the food service, hospitality, and retail industries. It is expected to impact hundreds of thousands of working people statewide.
The law, which passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support, requires large employers – those with at least 500 employees worldwide – to give their Oregon employees written work schedules a week before the start of the work week. That advance notice requirement begins in July of 2018 and increases to two weeks in July of 2020.
The act's other provisions also take effect in July of 2018 and include:
- requiring at least a 10-hour break between shifts (effectively ending the practice of involuntary or unexpected back-to-back shifts, sometimes called “clo-openings”),
- offering predictability pay for unplanned schedule changes, and
- providing the "right to request," allowing employees to express scheduling preferences with no retribution.
- Employees who wish to may opt-in to a "standby list" to demonstrate increased flexibility and availability.
Leading the push for the passage of this bill was the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 Union, representing grocery store, retail, and healthcare workers in Oregon.
"All of us deserve more than a couple days' notice of our work schedule,” said Dan Clay, President of Local 555. “How else can you plan childcare? Go to school? Schedule medical appointments? Hold down a second job? Without at least some notice of upcoming schedules, workers can't live their lives or adequately plan for their families. Oregon's Fair Work Week bill is a commonsense solution to an everyday problem facing workers in every town, city, and state across America."
Added Jeff Anderson, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 555, “We are done being a just-in-time indentured workforce.”
Lane County Workers Rally for a Fair Contract
Community members and local labor unions rallied in support of Lane County employees on Monday at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in Eugene. The rally was in response to County employees not having a contract, despite nine months of negotiations with management.
Local labor leaders and community members including Val Hoyle spoke to the gathering of 160 people at the event. Pat Riggs-Henson, President of the Lane County Central Labor Chapter, explained why local unions are standing behind the county workers:
“It’s about equity, and it’s about helping the people who help us,” said Riggs-Henson. “Lane County workers face healthcare reductions. Women are paid less than men while making up over two-thirds of the workforce. County workers are the people who make our communities run. They provide a vital service for us and they deserve to be treated fairly. We are rallying today to ask for a fair contract.”
The Lane County Central Labor Chapter has vowed to continue to support the workers until a contract agreement is reached. The Chapter is the local body of AFL-CIO affiliated unions in Lane County.
LERC Celebrates 40 Years
LERC is celebrating its 40th Anniversary on Wednesday October 11th, and you are invited! Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain is master of ceremonies at this event being held in Portland at the Oregon Zoo. The main dinner event and benefit will be from 5 – 8 pm, and will include a light buffet dinner and featured speakers including Senator Jeff Merkley; Betsy Boyd, UO Associate Vice President for Federal Affairs; and a keynote address by Sarita Gupta, national director of Jobs with Justice.
There will also be a free afternoon symposium, When Workers Win: New Strategies for Bargaining and Economic Policy, from 2-5 pm for those who have purchased tickets for the evening event. For more information on the distinguished presenters see https://lerc.uoregon.edu/40th-anniversary-symposium/.
In addition to a celebration, this is an opportunity to support LERC’s new initiatives and efforts to help strengthen the Oregon Labor Movement. For more information, to donate, or to purchase tickets, please go towww.uoalumni.com/LERC40. You can also directly contact LERC for donation and ticket information by emailing LERC@uoregon.edu. Checks can be made out to “UO Foundation, LERC” and sent to LERC’s Eugene office 1289 University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 97403.
Wildfire Emergency Hardship Assistance
Labor’s Community Service Agency is accepting referrals for union members or apprentices affected by this summer’s wildfires to its temporary hardship assistance programs.
Andy Puzder in Oregon
You can tell who someone truly is by the company they keep. For the Freedom Foundation, an anti-worker group that operates in Oregon, Washington, and California, the company kept includes alleged wage thief Andy Puzder.
The Freedom Foundation invited Puzder to headline their two upcoming fundraisers in Oregon and Washington. Puzder is a former fast food CEO who was nominated by President Trump to be Secretary of Labor. He was too extreme to win confirmation in the U.S. Senate, and withdrew his nomination after his anti-worker record and a video of his ex-wife making domestic abuse allegations became public.
The Freedom Foundation is known to approach workers at their homes and pretend to be on their side. Their true motivations become obvious when they make it clear they have no problem with Puzder’s anti-worker record. The Freedom Foundation and their out-of-state funders have one goal: to destroy unions and worker power in our communities.
As the former head of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants, Puzder called his employees “the best of the worst” and said he’d prefer hiring robots because "there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case." Current and former Hardee's and Carl’s Jr. workers filed 22 complaints of wage theft with the U.S. Labor Department and state agencies, and four sexual harassment claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Puzder and the Freedom Foundation do not care about workers or our rights.