Building Power

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Building Power
November 28, 2018

New Podcast Episode!

On the latest episode of our monthly podcast, The Voice of Oregon’s Workers, we sit down with Oregon State Representative-Elect Rachel Prusak, House District 37, to discuss the results of the 2018 General Election and how Oregon can continue to build a road to prosperity for working people in the 2019 Legislative Session.

Click here to listen today!
Make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

A Callous Decision: Labor’s Response to General Motors

General Motors made headlines this week when the company announced an end to production in Ohio Maryland and Michigan which will impact thousands of workers. The workers had no advance notice of the impending layoffs. The decision will not go unchallenged by the union movement, especially by the United Autoworkers who represent assembly line workers at GM.

UAW issued a response on Monday:

“We must step away from the anti-worker thinking of seeking simply the lowest labor cost on the planet,” said UAW President Gary Jones. “The practice of circumventing American labor in favor of moving production to nations that tolerate wages less than half of what our American brothers and sisters make, must stop. More importantly, we must understand that these companies, including GM, are no longer in trouble. They are recording annual profits in the tens of billions.”

“This callous decision by GM to reduce or cease operations in American plants, while opening or increasing production in Mexico and China plants for sales to American consumers, is, in its implementation, profoundly damaging to our American workforce,” said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice President, Director GM Department. “GM’s production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days. These decisions are a slap in the face to the memory and recall of that historical American made bailout.”

Yesterday, Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO director of policy, discussed General Motor’s decision on CNBC:

Oregon’s unions stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers at GM and will keep you updated about how we can help support UAW members who are out of work.

California Wildfire Relief

Wildfires have swept Northern and Southern California. Please help our sisters and brothers rebuild the regions devastated by the fires. Click here to learn how you can help.

Hawthorne Makes Three:
Another Burgerville Location Goes Union!

Earlier this month, workers at the Hawthorne Burgerville in Portland formally announced their union, joining the 92nd / Powell and Gladstone locations.

"Burgerville corporate likes to say that they're excited to work with the union and listen to us workers," says James Curry, an employee at the Hawthorne Burgerville in an interview with Willamette Week. "This is their chance to do the right thing and prove it."

Image via Northwest Labor Press

The Northwest Labor Press covered this developing story, where James Curry explained the disconnection between Burgerville’s image and how workers are treated:

“Their relationship with local farms, using renewable energy, those are helpful and good, but in terms of working there, our conditions as workers, it’s just like any other fast food place,” Curry said. “We get paid minimum wage. We have clocks on the wall telling us how fast we need to work.”

“And even if all the branding were true,” Curry said, “we would still deserve to get paid more than we are, and have more of a voice in the workplace.”