Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Our Legacy
December 5, 2018
Carrying Our Legacy Forward
Sixty-three years ago today on Dec. 5, 1955, American Federation of Labor President George Meany (UA) and Congress of Industrial Organizations President Walter Reuther (UAW) stood before a packed crowd of union leaders and labor activists at the 71st Regiment Armory in New York City. Together, they held up a massive walnut gavel and hammered it against the dais, bringing to order the first Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO. “I feel that this is the most important trade union development of our time,” reflected Meany. “Let us face the future confident beyond question that the cause we espouse is a good cause—confident beyond expression that the things we ask for are just and proper.”
In the years since, the AFL-CIO has advanced our cause in every corner of the country, living up to those first delegates’ vision of their new federation as “an expression of the hopes and aspirations of the working people of America.”
Joining together under one banner, the convention delegates pledged themselves to the fight ahead in the preamble to the AFL-CIO’s first constitution—a commitment that still drives us today:
“We pledge ourselves to the more effective organization of working men and women; to the securing to them of full recognition and enjoyment of the rights to which they are justly entitled; to the achievement of even higher standards of living and working conditions; to the attainment of security for all the people sufficient to enable workers and their families to live in dignity; to the enjoyment of the leisure which their skills make possible; and to the strengthening and extension of our way of life and our democratic society.”
Take a moment today to embrace our history as a movement and listen to Meany’s 1955 address—then help carry that legacy forward by taking action alongside your union brothers and sisters.
Support Central Oregon Nurses
Nurses at St. Charles in Bend peacefully rallied last week at the hospital to show support for their nurse bargaining team on the first day of federal contract mediation with St. Charles executives. Nurses at St. Charles have been working on an expired contract for nearly 5 months as they advocate for patient safety improvements and affordable health care.
The Union Difference: Voter Turnout Numbers
The results are in and the union difference is once again evident: in the 2018 General Election, Oregon’s union members turned out to vote nearly 6% higher than the general public. This was a historic election, with over 1.9 million Oregonians casting a ballot.
There are many reasons why union members turnout to vote at a higher rate, but what makes the most difference are the thousands of volunteer shifts filled by dedicated union members during our Labor 2018 political program! Thank you to everyone who helped make our program a success.
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! (add link once live) and make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Presents for Partners Toy Drive
Unions across the region are collecting toys to distribute at the annual Presents From Partners Giving Party, organized by Labor’s Community Services Agency. This is a huge assistance for families in need during the holiday season. To participate, bring a new, unopened, unwrapped toy to the Oregon AFL-CIO office at 3645 SE 32nd in Portland by December 10 or contact Labor’s Community Service Agency to learn more.