Weekly Update: Protecting Working People

House Sends Rural Worker Protection Act to the Governor

Oregonians will have better protections against anti-worker, anti-union efforts with the passage of Senate Bill 1040, which cleared the House with a bipartisan vote and is now headed to the Governor’s desk. Senate Bill 1040 passed the House 41-17.

The Rural Worker Protection Act codifies into state law existing federal law protecting the rights of private sector labor organizations to enter into union security agreements with employers. These agreements are typically part of collective bargaining agreements and set the standard for consistent labor relations. The Act is a groundbreaking effort to protect private sector workers from local anti-union ordinances.  This is especially important in an increasingly anti-union political climate, where the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the right of local governments to enact local right-to-work laws in Kentucky.

The bill was co-chief sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), Rep. John Lively (D-Springfield), Rep. Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis), Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene).


It’s Pride month! If you are interested in marching in the Portland Pride Parade alongside fellow union members, head to Oregon Pride At Work’s Facebook event page to get all the details!

Over at the AFL-CIO Now Blog, Pride At Work Co-President Tim Schlittner has written a deeply personal and moving piece about his experience called Finding Pride:

“I do not believe that God tortures any person simply for its own sake. I believe that God enables all things to work for the greater good. In this, the 47th year of my life, it is arguably too late to have this discussion. But it is here, and it is now. At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is.”

Click here to read Tim’s article.

Keep Oregon a Welcoming State

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an organization with deep ties to white nationalist groups, is moving forward with Initiative Petition 22, which would repeal our state’s 30-year-old inclusivity law (ORS 181A.820) prohibiting the use of state and local resources to enforce federal immigration law.

This state law was passed in 1987, because local law enforcement personnel were racially profiling U.S. citizens and conducting raids where they lived, worked and worshipped. ORS 181A.820 prohibits this kind of discrimination.

We’ve also heard from officials throughout the state that they do not want to spend precious resources to enforce Trump’s questionable policies, and that immigration enforcement remains the sole responsibility of the federal government.

Help us Defend Oregon’s values and sign our pledge to keep Oregon a welcoming state.  

IP 22 is bad for Oregon, so all of us need to make sure Oregonians pledge against it. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

It would undermine community trust. Oregon state and local law enforcement officials are strong proponents of ensuring that immigration enforcement remains the sole responsibility of the federal government, because they know from experience it makes our communities safer. When community members don’t trust state and local law enforcement, they won’t report crimes to the police or appear in court to testify.

It would harm Oregon families. Immigrant families have been in Oregon for generations and are part of the fabric of our state. Repealing this law will give law enforcement license to profile citizens and aspiring citizens alike. Immigrants are our neighbors and colleagues, our friends and family, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their country of birth. And like other Americans, immigrants have a right to a fair trial and due process.

It would decimate Oregon’s economy. Immigrants play a vital role in our state’s culture and economy, and they’ve made our communities stronger for generations. We know immigrants are also more likely than native-born Oregonians to start small businesses, which are the backbone of our local economy. Many sectors rely on immigrant employees to keep their businesses competitive and growing, including agriculture and technology. Repealing this law would send a message to that Oregon is not a welcoming state, only worsening our labor shortage and crushing our economy.

Join our movement to keep Oregon a state where all of us are treated with dignity and respect.   Keeping Oregon strong and sign our pledge.

Demand Trade Policy That Works for Working People

Recently, the Trump administration notified Congress that it plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement—better known as NAFTA—with some in the president’s administration saying it simply needs to be “modernized.”

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office is accepting comments from the public until June 12. It’s important that working people speak up for ourselves now, the same as we did with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Click here to leave a comment for the U.S. Trade Representative about why a trade deal that takes working people into account is important to you.

NAFTA—to put it bluntly—was terrible for working families in the United States, as well as our allies to the north and south, Canada and Mexico. The terrible deal triggered job losses, depressed wages and more power for corporations across all three countries.

Millions of working people stood united to make sure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership didn’t pass once we saw that the agreement left working people out in the cold. We have fought hard for trade policy that works for working folks and now is not the time to let up.

Submit a comment to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office about why our trade deals must prioritize working people.