Weekly Update: Can't Trump Oregon

Can’t Trump Oregon

We are proud to announce the launch of a new website from the Oregon AFL-CIO called Can’t Trump Oregon! This page will serve as a way for working people to learn about the threats we face at the federal level through frequent updates on the latest from Washington DC.

We hope you’ll find this new site helpful. With so much happening daily, it’s going to take all of us, in the fight together, to protect the things we as Oregonians value most. But we know that when working people stand together, we win.

Please help spread the word on social media about our new website:

Rep. Walden’s Shift from Center to Right

Following last week’s Congressional recess, where constituents flocked to town hall meetings across the state including those held by Rep. Walden in the 2nd Congressional District, Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain has written an article in the Northwest Labor Press tracking the Congressman’s movement from a centrist to the right wing of Congress:

“Along Walden’s path to the chairmanship he moved further and further to the right. Republican House Members have voted 54 times to repeal or defund Obamacare, and Walden has voted “yes” to repeal every single time. As chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Walden was a strong supporter of the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare), which would replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  If passed, the AHCA would have denied benefits to 24 million Americans and would have given a back-door tax cut to wealthy Americans of $600 million. The AHCA did pass out of Walden’s committee but never received a floor vote due to lack of support from the Republican Caucus.”

You can read President Chamberlain’s full article at www.nwlaborpress.org.

Workers’ Memorial Day Ceremony in Salem Next Week

Don’t forget to attend the 2017 Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, April 28 in Salem next week. Speakers include State Representative Barbara Smith Warner, Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain, Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood and Elana Pirtle-Guiney from Governor Kate Brown’s office. Click here for more details.

Unionized Scientists Speak Out Against Cuts

This article is courtesy of Carly Ebben Eaton and Kathy Setian. Eaton is a postdoctoral scholar and executive board member of UAW Local 5810. Setian was a project manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a steward of IFPTE Local 20, Engineers and Scientists of California.

Of all the attacks on our civil society, the attacks on evidence-based science pose perhaps the greatest existential threat. Decisions being made about climate science and environmental protection at this critical time will shape the future of our planet.

Advances in research are produced by the twin pillars of dedicated scientists and an activated citizenry who demand that the best science be applied to today’s most pressing problems. Because scientists produce the facts that expose the lies currently being purveyed, the tip of the spear is pointed at the heart of science-based policy and research.

But the imminent threat also presents an extraordinary opportunity for the scientific community to unify around a message of resistance, one in which organized labor has a critical role to play. Unionized scientists are well-positioned to fight back against the false narratives being pushed by the administration and to advocate collectively for continued funding of crucial basic research. Science professionals need a workplace free from fear of corporate power and political malfeasance influencing their results. We are the protectors of truth and facts, and in that way we all are in service to the public. With scientific integrity, we speak truth to power.

Budget cuts are the beginning of the attack. For example, the Donald Trump administration is proposing a 31% cut in funding and 21% cut in workforce at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on top of less-heralded budget cuts over the past three years. Such low funding levels have not been seen since the 1970s, prior to the enactment of most of our national environmental laws. Enforcement is also targeted, crippling the EPA’s ability to protect human health.

Is this a good way to save money? Investments in environmental protection pay huge dividends for the country. For example, air pollution reductions will avoid 230,000 premature deaths and produce total benefits valued at $2 trillion in 2020, according to a 2011 study. This benefit exceeds costs by more than 30-to-1, to say nothing of the human suffering.

Scientists have long held the view that with enough data and evidence we will be able to convince skeptics that climate change is real, that humans are responsible and that immediate action must be taken. It is increasingly clear that this approach has not worked.

For the nearly 7,000 postdoctoral researchers at the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab represented by UAW Local 5810, having a union ensures strong workplace protections as well as a powerful, nationwide platform for advocacy when research comes under threat. And the collective power of the union is not limited to the workplace.

With a diverse membership that includes both higher education and the manufacturing sector, the UAW has been a leading advocate for climate change policies that both create healthy communities and address economic and racial inequities. And at the EPA, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 20/Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC) has rallied in opposition to the cuts and will continue to speak out, including in San Francisco at the March for Science.

Make no mistake. As organized scientists, we are in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters who have lost jobs and real income steadily over the past several decades. We support the creation of jobs in clean energy sectors and in green infrastructure projects.

It is time for scientists and the citizenry who depend on science to embrace our responsibility to advocate for sound policies. Our very lives and livelihood are now dependent on stepping collectively forward into the realm of political advocacy and action.

Together we will March for Science on April 22, in opposition to the damage that the current administration seeks to do to research and in solidarity with scientists, researchers, and concerned citizens who remain resolved, undeterred, and organized in the face of these threats.