Statement by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain on the national “right to work” bill introduced yesterday in the United States Congress, on a leaked Executive Order threatening the rights of millions of workers, and on last week’s immigration Executive Orders:
“Yesterday, legislation was introduced in Congress with the intent to limit the ability of working people to stand together as unions. Deceptively called a “right to work” bill, this type of legislation drags all workers down, regardless of whether they belong to unions or not. If passed, this law will mean lower paychecks[i] for workers and increased workplace fatalities[ii]. This legislation is designed to do one thing: dismantle the tools workers have to form and maintain strong unions by which we negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Oregon’s union movement is prepared to do everything we can to protect our right to stand together.
Beyond threats from Congress, working people and our families could face rampant rollbacks of protections in what several credible news outlets are reporting as a leaked Executive Order from President Trump.[iii] This order, if enacted, would provide a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people on everything from hiring and firing to health benefits and beyond. If this leaked order comes to pass, it will be a significant and disturbing step backward for our nation.
The Oregon AFL-CIO is strongly opposed to any Congressional or Presidential action which threatens the rights of working people by any means, including last week’s Executive Orders regarding immigration and refugees. We stand in support and solidarity with Oregon’s immigrant and refugee communities. Last week’s Executive Orders have only increased fear and divided us as a nation – they do not represent the values that Oregon’s unions stand for. We are thankful for the actions of Governor Brown who today stood up for immigrants and refugees in Oregon, and by doing so set an example of what leadership looks like.”
[i] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (all industries, all establishments, average annual pay), 2014 data.
[ii] Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2014.