Weekly Update: What’s At Stake?

What’s At Stake?

The 2016 General Election is months away, but it’s clear that working people will have a lot of stake, including our right to stand together in our unions.   Click here to watch AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer and Oregonian Liz Shuler break down how this election will impact us in an interview with Machinists' ( IAM 's) Dierdre Kaniewski.

Nationally, the two leading Republican nominees are busy trying to outdo each other with statements slamming immigrants, women, unions, and beyond. Just this week, Ted Cruz praised Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ’s assault on working people and our right to negotiate together and yesterday was declared the winner in the Badger State’s primary.  It goes without saying: the rhetoric we’re hearing is dangerous.

Ted Cruz and Scott Walker

In Oregon, we’re looking at the same threats that Cruz and Trump are slinging. Because we won victories like an increase in Oregon’s minimum wage and paid sick days, corporate special interests and out-of-state millionaires – like Loren Parks and the Koch brothers - are striking back against working people in Oregon with ballot measures designed to limit our ability to advocate for better lives for our families. Like many attacks on working people, these ballot measures will make it harder for working people in Oregon to stand together and advocate for fair wages, decent benefits, and safer working conditions.

The overall goal of anti-worker ballot measures, like IP 62, is to make it harder for working people to make ends meet, which is why Oregon’s union movement and our allies are standing together to fight for working people in Oregon – just like we did to raise the minimum wage.   We’re going to continue to fight this — and any other attack on Oregon’s workers — tooth and nail. Our friends over at Keep Oregon Working have a blog post up explaining who is behind these attacks, and what you can do to help fight back.

California Goes to $15

In case you missed it, the minimum wage increase we just won in Oregon has spread south to California ! California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski issued a statement last week, explaining the broader impact of what’s happening in his state:

The statement California made today will echo throughout the country. By boosting 6 million workers across the state, we’re saying that all work is valued and all working people have value. No matter your job, you are contributing to the economic success of your company, your community and your nation. By lifting those at the bottom of the economic ladder, we level the playing field for everyone. California is setting all workers on a path out of poverty and restoring the American Dream.”

Gov. Brown signs minimum wage bill

Meanwhile up north, studies are being conducted in Seattle that show the sky has, in fact, not fallen after they raised the minimum wage.

They’re Starting to Cave

More Senators who follow Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist lead are starting to cave into immense pressure from working people to do their job and hold a hearing and vote on Pres. Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.   But we need to keep the pressure up because Mitch McConnell and Republican Senate leaders are hoping they can ride out the coming weeks into the summer recess and avoid doing their constitutional duty.

Click here now or dial 844-899-9913 to join a national call-in push today to demand Republican senators do their job and move quickly to hold hearings and a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Our pressure is working. Late last month, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said he supports holding a hearing on Garland’s nomination. And Moran isn’t the only Republican to break ranks with Mitch McConnell and Republicans leaders: Sixteen Republican senators now say they’d be willing to meet with Garland and a few others have called for hearings. But time is running out to get the remaining obstructionist Senators to do their job. We need to demand they take action before the summer recess happens and elections are in full swing.

Click here to send a tweet telling the Senate to #DoYourJob , and then click here or dial 844-899-9913 to join a national call-in push today to demand obstructionist senators do their job.

Don’t Privatize Air Traffic Control

Legislation (H.R.4441) recently passed the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee that includes damaging language with the goal of privatizing our entire country's air traffic control system. This means the people who keep the system safe and efficient will no longer be part of a government-run agency and instead part of a private corporation.


Privatization of the air traffic control system at a time where the system is staying safe and progress is being made is not a step forward, and frankly could be a disaster by requiring the US Government to turn over a $20 billion infrastructure system with some 250,000 employees to an inexperienced private contractor. Currently, our nation’s air traffic control system maintains a strict culture of safety and professionalism. Contracting that work out to a private corporation would likely create a culture where profits are put above safety, which we can’t afford to see happen to our airways.

Please take a moment and write a letter to Congress, demanding that we keep our air traffic control system public and to vote NO on H.R. 4441.