Weekly Update: Don't Sell Us Short

Action Alert:
Don’t Sell Us Short on Overtime

Congressman Kurt Schrader is pushing a bill in Congress which will change how the new overtime law works - including some bad changes for working people.

The bill being pushed by Congressman Schrader would delay the start of the new law and would get rid of an important provision that indexes the threshold requirements for overtime pay to account for wage growth.  That's not a step forward for working people, it's a step backward.  And we can't afford to keep going in the wrong direction.

Sign the petition today and tell Congressman Schrader not to sell us short on overtime.

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A Week of Tragedy

Last week saw a series of tragic events: the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five police officers in Dallas, Texas. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released statements last week in response to the violence:

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the two African-American men who were shot by police within twenty-four hours of each other.

Racism plays an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color. This is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue; it is a community issue, and unions are the community. Philando Castile was a union member, and so his family is our family. Last year the AFL-CIO launched a Commission on Racial and Economic Justice to address the issues faced by our brothers and sisters of color and to take a hard look at ourselves to ensure we practice what we preach. The Commission aimed to educate working people on the way racism weakens the collective power of all working people.

It is haunting that only two years ago I delivered a speech in St. Louis in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s death denouncing systemic racism in the United States. Since then, hundreds of people have lost their lives in incidents involving police officers, and African-Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted. Labor cannot and will not sit on the sidelines when it comes to racial justice. It is not enough to simply say “Black Lives Matter.” We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality.


We mourn the loss of the officers who were shot in the line of duty in Dallas, protecting the right to protest peacefully. Our hearts go out to the victims’ families, the city of Dallas, and the nation.

Violence is never the answer to violence, and two wrongs never make a right. As a nation and as people, we are defined by our values. We are better than this. We categorically reject the idea that anyone can justify anger by murdering police officers or civilians.

It is not enough to want to be better; we have to get better – as human beings, as communities, as a nation. This senseless killing must stop, and we all have to find a way to make it stop.

Machinists Win at Boeing

Our friends at the Northwest Labor Press reported some exciting news from North Portland this week:  Workers at a Boeing paint contractor voted yes to form a union represnted by the IAMAW! Click here for the full story.

Respect & Dignity Wins in Oregon

Thanks to the hard work of thousands of Oregonians, we are proving that respect and dignity are stronger than hate - all three anti-immigrant ballot initiatives failed to qualify for the 2016 election.

The struggle against extremists is not over, however. The extremist organization, Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) continues to coordinate with national hate groups and big out-of-state funders, such as Loren Parks, to target immigrant families in Oregon.

First, they sponsored measures to push immigrants further into the shadows by making English the official language of Oregon, mandate businesses use flawed programs to screen employees, and roll back people's right to vote by cancelling all voter registrations. Because people like you stood up and said this isn’t the Oregon we want, they have shifted their focus.

Now, they are expanding their extremist agenda and are actively working to destroy Oregon’s democratic values. OFIR has teamed up with other conservative interest groups to push two anti-democracy measures designed to:

1.       Roll back Oregon’s progress on important legislative issues; and

2.       Limit voter education.

Loren Parks, the single largest individual donor in Oregon political history, is playing his usual role and is currently the only financial backer of these measures with a sizable financial contribution exceeding $500,000.

On top of that, OFIR has vowed to return next election cycle with their anti-immigrant agenda, and hate is still a dominant theme in this - and the next - election. We are committed to long-term change and we have faith in each other to see this through.

We believe Oregon works best when we support, care, and invest in the health of all our children and protecting our environment. We believe that all workers should be treated with dignity and respect. We believe in protecting people’s right to vote and building movements around people power. But our ability to collectively move progress forward in Oregon is under attack and we have to be vigilant this election cycle.

Oregon Labor Employment Relations Association Opportunity

Oregon’s unions have the opportunity to enroll as a group in the Oregon Labor Employment Relations Association and get substantially reduced rates for membership. Oregon LERA hosts topical breakfast programs and an annual conference.  Registrations are discounted for LERA members.  There will be a two-day conference November on “Who’s the boss? The erosion of the traditional employer/employee relationship.” The current rate is $40 per membership. The new institutional rates are 5-8 members for $200 or 9-12 members for $275. Oregon LERA provides education where labor, management and neutrals are in the same room discussing new developments and problems in employment relations and collective bargaining.  

You can find out other information about LERA at www.oregonlera.com.