Weekly Update: Putting Working People Ahead

Putting Working People Ahead in 2016

A lot of new laws went into effect on January 1st, including some that increase protections for working people. Here’s a quick look at what has changed with the New Year:

  • Paid Sick Days
    If you work for a company with 10 or more workers (or six or more workers, if in Portland), your employer will now have to provide at least five paid sick days per year. That means working people can take a day off if sick, keeping all of us healthy, or to stay home and watch after a kid who is home sick from school. 
  • Retirement Security
    Currently, nearly half of all Oregonians do not have a retirement plan at work. Oregon will spend the next year preparing for the 2017 implementation of one of the country's first affordable, accessible, retirement plans for every Oregonian. This state-sponsored plan will make it incredibly easy for small business owners to offer retirement plans--they will only need to add a line item to the monthly pay stub. 
  •  End Profiling
    Oregon banned the practice of profiling by law enforcement and is making real investments in accountability and transparency through the Law Enforcement Profiling Work Group. By ending profiling, Oregon will start to change the culture of policing, making neighborhoods safer and communities stronger. 
  • Ban the Box
    Job seekers can now apply for work without having to check a box on employment applications asking about their history of previous incarcerations or criminal justice involvement. National research has shown that having “the box” on job applications can reduce the likelihood of an impacted person receiving a callback for a job interview by a staggering 50%. The Portland City Council recently passed an ordinance that takes this law a step further, and we hope to see more cities around Oregon follow suit.
  • Motor Voter
    Registering to vote has never been easier. Renewing or applying for a drivers’ license will now automatically add you to the voter rolls in Oregon. Once again, our state is a leader in the democratic process.
  • Protections for Domestic Workers
    Oregon is home to 10,000 domestic workers, many of whom are women and immigrants. This workforce will now receive the rights that many of us take for granted, like overtime pay, rest periods and paid personal leave.

Take a look at more of Oregon’s new laws here, and don’t miss these two upcoming events at Capitol:

  • Wage Theft Hearing
    Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 2pm, Oregon State Capitol, Salem
    Click here to RSVP and spread the word on Facebook
    On January 13, the Senate Workforce Committee will be hearing about wage theft, the damage it causes to our communities, and what we propose to do about it. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. and will last approximately 3 hours.
  • Rally to Raise the Wage
    Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 3:30 PM, Oregon State Capitol, Salem
    RSVP & Spread the word on Facebook
    On January 14th, we’re heading to Salem to send a message to our lawmakers: it’s time to give working Oregonians and their families a raise.

Crackdown on Immigrants Ignores Due Process and Creates Communities Filled with Fear

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement today on Obama administration’s large scale deportations:

“The AFL-CIO has consistently urged the Obama administration to designate those fleeing violence in Central America as “refugees,” and to honor its legal commitments to ensure that individuals who are eligible for protective status will not be returned to danger. Instead, the shameful response of our government has been to erode due process protections by expediting legal proceedings and to lock families in remote detention facilities with little access to counsel. Now, in an inexcusable escalation and without any transparency, the Department of Homeland Security has begun conducting armed home raids in order to deport vulnerable women and children back to some of the most dangerous countries in the world.

These devastating and disgraceful raids have instilled fear in communities around the country, tearing hundreds of families apart and causing already traumatized parents to stay home from work and keep their children home from school.

The AFL-CIO and our affiliates will work with faith and grassroots partners to ensure that members of our communities who are seeking refuge will not be deported back into harm’s way. Whether that means providing support for rapid response efforts, helping to ensure that communities are organized against deportations, or identifying places of sanctuary including our union halls, the labor movement will stand strong with Central American refugees until we see an end to these raids and a real commitment to ensuring full and fair legal proceedings.”

Head over to Causa Oregon’s Facebook page to get the latest information about the raids and important resources.

Winning Back Wages in Southern Oregon

Construction workers who built residence halls and a dining facility at Southern Oregon University have won a landmark $2.5 million settlement. To date, this is the largest wage collection in the history of our state.

“This settlement is a result of an extensive, multi-year effort by our Prevailing Wage Rate Unit to ensure that these workers receive every dollar they’ve earned,” said Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. “Our agency is committed to strong and fair enforcement so that employees on public projects are paid the full wages owed under Oregon law.”

Cases like this are why the Oregon AFL-CIO is standing with a coalition of organizations to increase protections for working people to ensure that everyone is paid what they’re owed after the job is done.