Weekly Update: Calling Out Uber

Calling Out Uber

Last week, Willamette Week broke the news that Uber has renewed efforts in Salem to avoid local regulations to maximize their profits at the expense of working people. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain responded, by calling out Uber’s latest attempt to buy off Oregon in exchange for an open door to expand their unscrupulous business practices to local communities statewide:

“Uber’s meddling in the Oregon legislature’s transportation funding process is a thinly-veiled attempt to buy off our state in exchange for less regulation. It is an open door for Uber to earn massive profits at the expense of working people.

“Oregon’s legislature sent a clear message by not moving House Bill 3246 forward: transportation systems need to fit the specific needs of the communities in which they operate. Uber’s lobbyists did not seem to get that message. They have now introduced a resurrection of their previous plans into transportation funding conversations by expressing a willingness for their company to be taxed to fund an expansion of electric vehicle use and capacity, but only if a statewide regulatory preemption is implemented. This seemingly altruistic gesture is anything but generous: it comes at the cost of communities’ ability to regulate companies like Uber. It would cut standards that cities across Oregon use to protect consumers, to protect working people, and to protect riders within local transportation systems.

“Uber’s proposal should be wholeheartedly rejected by Oregon’s lawmakers, just like they did with House Bill 3246. This is a wealthy, multinational corporation whose business practices include operating illegally in Portland by dodging regulators and making national headlines for their manipulative exploitation of working people for the sake of profits. It is clear to me, and hopefully to our legislature, that Uber does not have the best interests of consumers and of working Oregonians in mind with their latest proposal.”

Read more coverage about Uber’s meddling at the Eugene Register Guard.

Take Action for Stable Homes

40% of Oregonians rent their homes, yet Oregon still allows landlords and property managers to evict people without cause and without even telling them why. People who are following the rules and paying their rents on time can still lose their homes through no fault of their own.

That’s still legal in Oregon and it isn’t right. People are also facing skyrocketing rents across the state—increases of 25%, 35%, 50%, even 100 or 200%! Families cannot keep up and are forced to move out in a rental market so tight that some are living in cars, or even worse, on the streets.

Contact your State Senator. Tell them to vote YES on HB 2004A. House Bill 2004A is a reasonable solution that protects renters and landlords, and limits evictions without cause.

Why Do We Need Medicaid?

Like many Americans, you may have parents or other loved ones in nursing homes because they require around-the-clock care.

Nursing-home care is expensive, typically $80,000 per year for a semiprivate room—far more than the income of a typical senior. Medicare generally pays only for short-term nursing-home stays. Yet only about 1 in 10 people 65 and older have private long-term care insurance to cover nursing-home costs. For a great many people, that insurance is too expensive.

Medicaid is the one thing people can count on when their money has run out. Losing that coverage, as could happen to some people if congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump succeed in gutting Medicaid funding to pay for tax cuts for corporate CEOs and the wealthiest 1%, would force working people to make impossible choices about how to care for their parents and other family members when they can no longer care for themselves.

This is just one reason why Medicaid matters to working people and their families. Consider a few other impressive Medicaid facts and think about what would happen to you, your family, your friends and your community without it:

  • Medicaid helps seniors and other people with significant disabilities stay in their homes and communities, instead of being forced to go to nursing homes.
  • Medicaid guarantees more than 30 million children access to medical care.
  • Nearly 5 million children with special care needs, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism, are covered by Medicaid and other public insurance.
  • Medicaid pays for half of all childbirths in the United States.

Watch the video above reminding all of us why Medicaid is so important to working people, and why slashing Medicaid’s federal funding by half to pay for huge tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, CEOs and corporations is so wrong.

Taking on Paul Ryan

Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin union ironworker, announced Monday that he would seek the Democratic nomination to run against House Speaker Paul Ryan, and released a video that has been inspiring working people across the country: