Weekly Update: Labor Day

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update • August 31, 2016

Labor Day

Labor Day is almost here! Whether you’re planning to head out to a picnic or host your own barbecue, we’ve got you covered:

And here’s a roundup of articles to help you send the right message on social media for Labor Day:

"No one is more American than I am."

Proud union member and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre has a message for Donald Trump: "No one is more American than I am."

Tefere’s story is truly inspiring.

One night at his UPS job, Tefere Gebre's co-worker handed him some union material.

“He told me that I’d get health care and vacation and other benefits by filling it out. I said, ‘Are you serious?’ I thought, ‘Hmm. Everyone should have that.’”

Tefere, now the executive vice president of the AFL-CIO (the third-highest ranking position at the federation representing America's working people), has been a proud union member for most of his life, valuing the freedom of people to come together in union.

This freedom is sacred to Tefere, considering what he had to live through to achieve it. And he won't let anyone, especially not Donald Trump, try to take that away from him.

Born in Gondar, Ethiopia, Tefere came to the United States in the 1980s as a young teenager having survived a brutal military regime that killed thousands of people, including children.

Watch this video to hear Tefere's story and his perspective on what being an American is.

No TPP Vote in Lame Duck Session

Last week, news broke that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not bring forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership for a vote during the post-election “lame duck” session.

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain released the following statement in response to the news from the Senate:

“Oregon’s unions have not typically agreed with the decisions made by Senator McConnell, but the choice not to hold a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is absolutely the right call. The TPP is a threat to working people in Oregon, and a threat to working communities across our entire country. We can’t afford another NAFTA-style free-trade deal which sends more Oregon jobs overseas for the sake of corporate profits. What we need are trade policies designed to give working people opportunities instead of shuttered factories, unemployment, and a global race to the bottom.”

Senator Jeff Merkley, our steadfast ally on trade and workers’ rights, released a statement as well last week. The Oregon AFL-CIO applauds Senator Merkley’s continued support and advocacy for working people and our unions.

“It’s rare for me to agree with Senator McConnell, but in this case he made absolutely the right decision. The TPP is a flawed trade deal that fails our workers and is opposed by both major party presidential nominees. Pushing it through at the last minute before a new administration would simply be wrong. We need trade policies that work for working Americans, not a rush to ram through giant trade agreements that repeat the mistakes of past job-killing trade deals.”

This is good news, but our work isn’t over. We need to continue speaking up against the TPP and any free trade agreement which will ship jobs overseas. Click here to make sure you’re signed up to receive action alerts from the Oregon AFL-CIO.