Weekly Update: Who Has Our Back?

Who Has Our Back?

Tonight is the third and final debate between Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As we have seen with the past two debates, Trump’s extreme rhetoric will be on full display tonight, and he’s made his views on women, on raising wages, and on our jobs very clear.

In Oregon, we face candidates with similar stances to Trump on issues important to working people. The Governor’s race and the Secretary of State’s race offer us clear choices between candidates who have our back and candidates who don’t.

Gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce has stated he’s not supportive of the work we have done to give Oregonians a fair shot at prosperity. His lack of support includes opposing raising the minimum wage and providing paid sick days to working people. He has also made very concerning statements about women, and domestic violence.

Since taking office, Governor Kate Brown has gone the opposite direction of Pierce’s ideology. She is ready to tackle Oregon’s aging transportation infrastructure by bringing stakeholders together so we can build a strong, efficient, and more resilient transportation system that meets every Oregonian’s needs.

Secretary of State candidate Dennis Richardson shares Donald Trump’s perspective on some important issues. Click here to read an article in the Northwest Labor Press by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain about why Richardson is too extreme for Oregon.

As Tom’s article explains, Brad Avakian stands in stark contrast to Richardson’s anti-union, anti-immigrant agenda. As Secretary of State, Avakian will fight to make sure every Oregonian has a voice in our electoral system - not just big corporations. He’ll make sure that women receive equal pay for equal work within public agencies. Brad believes participation in our democracy is a fundamental civil right of every Oregonian. The state has a responsibility to make voting accessible to all, and Brad has shown us he has the determination to do exactly that.

Each week, we recognize an outstanding local union for their efforts in recruiting volunteers to help get out the vote and talk to voters about endorsed candidates and ballot measures.

This week’s local union is IATSE Local 28!

Thanks for your work! If your union is interested in hosting a phone bank, or would like to participate in any other voter outreach event, reply to this email and we’ll get you the tools you need to recruit volunteers.

Historic Election Predicted in Oregon

More ballots are being mailed this year than ever before to Oregon voters: Over 2.5 million people are registered vote in November’s election! Yesterday was the last day to register to vote and ballots will soon be mailed out.

Over 90% of Oregon’s union members are predicted to vote this year. Learn more about Oregon’s unions’ endorsements and the importance of voting at oraflcio.org/vote.

The Tipping Point: One Steelworkers’ Perspective on Hillary Clinton

Dennis Mitchell builds tires at a plant in Buffalo, New York, alongside his co-workers in United Steelworkers (USW) Local 135. In this election season, he’s also busy talking to voters about strengthening the middle class and making sure working people across the country can get good-paying jobs.

“I feel like we’re at a tipping point right now,” Dennis said. He is supporting Hillary Clinton because of her proven record. “She has fought for children, for working families, for the country itself,” he continued. As for Hillary Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, “he is only out for himself,” said Dennis, and he’s not the candidate “who will bring back manufacturing, to change some of the trade deals we’ve had in the past, to build our communities.”

Hillary Clinton served as a U.S. senator from New York, so Dennis has seen how much she cares about workers. When she’d come to a labor function or a ribbon cutting, “she spoke directly to us and she was very sincere when she would address our needs,” said Dennis. “She is the candidate for not only our membership, but all of the middle class.”

Dennis has experienced first-hand the pitfalls of a fragile economy. As a kid growing up in south Buffalo in the 1970s, manufacturing jobs left his area, factories closed down and he saw his neighborhood “kind of rust away.” When he got out of the Navy, he found work with a temporary agency.

For two years, he and his co-workers tore down the old Republic Steel factory. Dennis remembers going through the plant and seeing lockers that were still full and shoes still under the benches.

That experience has stayed with him, and now, through his political work, Dennis wants to make sure that never happens to another family or community.

After the temp agency, Dennis found work at a union shop and became a member of the USW. The difference was stark. With his union, he had job security and benefits. Most importantly, he had a seat at the table to bargain in good faith with the company.

Dennis believes that to restore and strengthen the middle class, it will take electing leaders, from the president of the United States, all the way down to local officials, who support working families and will fight to make it easier to form or join a union.

The country needs candidates “who will work for us, work for labor and working families,” he said. “When I look at my nieces and my nephews and my great-nieces and nephews, I want them to have the same opportunity that we’ve had and that our parents wanted for us.”

A Steelworker's Mission: Rebuilding Opportunity originally appeared on the AFL-CIO's Medium publication, By Our Hands.