A Big Night for Working People

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: A Big Night for Working People
November 8, 2017

A Big Night for Working People

It was a big night for working people as pro-worker candidates won elections from coast to coast Tuesday.

Source: Getty Images

Among the victories seen around the country is the Governor’s race in Virginia, where Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam handily defeated Ed Gillespie as AFL-CIO-endorsed candidates won throughout the commonwealth. Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays hailed the victories:

“Today, Virginia’s voters turned out in record numbers to stand with working people and reject the hateful, divisive rhetoric that has taken over the airwaves throughout the campaign. Virginia voters have spoken—we must work toward a commonwealth that puts working families first and prioritizes real issues that impact our lives each and every day. All students must have quality public education and job-training opportunities. All workers must be guaranteed fair wages, safe working conditions and the freedom to join in union. And all Virginians must have access to quality, affordable health care no matter where they live. We are proud to stand with you all and elect Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, Mark Herring and a host of delegates in districts from Blacksburg to Hampton and so many places in between. Voters came together to enact real change in our commonwealth by flipping control in at least 15 house districts despite our heavily gerrymandered lines.”

Another inspiring win came in New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and is one of several key victories for working people in the state. New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech said union solidarity made it possible:

“Let’s be clear: what made the difference tonight was our unified labor voice, comprised of support from thousands of union volunteers, national, state and local affiliates, central labor councils and Building Trades councils. We had an opportunity to show strength and solidarity and we did. We joined together every Saturday for labor walks, made calls at evening phone banks and delivered thousands of mail pieces around the state. There is no question that our 1-million-member-strong state labor movement determined the outcome of this election.

“Working people needed a victory and organized labor delivered. The results of this election make clear that the New Jersey labor movement will lead the way forward for the rest of the nation, securing needed reforms that promote job creation, quality education, skills training, modernized infrastructure, affordable health care, equitable taxation, and a sustainable and secure retirement future for all New Jersey families.”

Taxes Must Work for Working People

The new GOP tax bill would explode the federal budget deficit by more than $1.5 trillion by slashing taxes for the rich and powerful, wealthy corporations and foreign investors. That leaves working people to pay the tab by paying more taxes as the GOP seeks to end deductions for housing, state and local taxes, medical expenses and educational costs.

Meanwhile, about one-third of the benefits of this tax plan—approximately $70 billion a year—would go directly to foreign investors who own shares in American companies, says an analysis by Steven Rosenthal at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.   The Oregon AFL-CIO, along with unions and workers across the country, demands a tax code that works for working people while providing the resources necessary for America’s workers and businesses to compete and succeed on the world stage.

Take action: Tell Congress to stop tax loopholes for Wall Street billionaires

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain responded last week to the GOP’s tax plan, as well as and the Better Deal platform introduced by Senate Democrats:

“The latest news from Washington DC is quite a contrast: From one party, we see more of the same policies which have failed working people for decades: Trickle-down economics through lowering taxes for corporations and for the wealthy. On the other hand, we see efforts from lawmakers to work toward an equal economy by protecting working peoples’ freedom to stand together in union as part of the Better Deal platform.

“The tax plan being touted by Republicans is not reform. Real tax reform would put money back into the pockets of working people. Their plan encourages offshoring and proposes cuts to vital programs like Medicaid, Medicare, education and infrastructure to cover the cost of tax breaks for the 1%.

A recent poll shows many Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share instead of seeing more tax cuts. The unions of the Oregon AFL-CIO are committed to fighting for an economy where everyone can prosper, and we know massive tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations are not part of that equation.   The Better Deal platform gets at what economists have been saying for years: When more people stand together in union, everyone benefits.”

Rally on Veterans Day in Portland

Our nation’s veterans deserve access to the highest quality care. But with more than 49,000 vacancies nationwide at the Veterans Administration, they are being deprived of the critical services they deserve and prefer. Current staffing levels are creating risks to patient safety and a hazardous work environment to the working people at the Veterans Administration.

That's why on Saturday, November 11 at 12 p.m., the American Federation of Government Employees will hold a rally after the Portland Veterans Day parade to demand the Department of Veterans’ Affairs fills all VA vacancies immediately.

Here are the details: