Moving Forward

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Moving Forward
May 30, 2018

Transportation Fairness Portland is Moving Forward!

Last week, the Portland City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution directing the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to begin researching recommendations for a new oversight body for transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft.  The Oregon AFL-CIO, along with drivers working with us as part of Transportation Fairness Portland, applaud this step forward by City Council.

We are eager to see this board created so that drivers and the community will have a voice in how TNCs operate within Portland. The Oregon AFL-CIO and Transportation Fairness Portland drivers look forward to working closely with PBOT as they develop recommendations.

To learn more about this exciting campaign, check out the latest episode of our podcast where we talk with a driver from Transportation Fairness Portland, as well as a worker from the Burgerville Workers Union to discuss the historic union organizing drive underway.

Here is a roundup of news stories related to last week’s vote:

To learn more about why local regulation for companies like Uber and Lyft is so important, check out a new website from the National Employment Law Project and the Partnership for Working Families,

Volunteers of America Workers Still Fighting

Workers at Volunteers of America – Oregon are still fighting for a fair contract. The Portland Mercury reported on the back-and-forth between the workers and VOA-Oregon CEO Kay Toran in a hard-hitting article last week:

A day after Volunteers of America (VOA) Oregon employees—joined by other local labor rights organizations—held a union protest outside of the nonprofit's administrative building, staff found an email from VOA Oregon CEO Kay Toran in their work inbox.

"In my 19 years as President/CEO of VOA Oregon and my entire professional career, I have never witnessed such disrespectful and unprofessional conduct," wrote Toran. "It is extremely disappointing to know that the union... would view this activity as productive and positive means to achieve their objectives."

Here’s what you can do to help VOA workers:

Harley-Davidson Move Shows Failure of Trump Tax Cuts

This article appears courtesy of the AFL-CIO Now Blog

In February of last year, President Donald Trump met with executives and working people at Harley-Davidson, promising that his proposed changes to tax law, trade, tariffs and other policies would help the company grow and working people would be the beneficiaries. This promise was widely made by Trump and other Republican advocates of the tax bill that Trump signed in December. But, as time goes on, we see, more and more, that the law not only isn't helping working people, it's making things worse.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the tax law and the effects it has on working people (using Harley-Davidson as an example):

  • Harley-Davidson is laying off 800 workers at a Kansas City, Missouri, factory by the fall of 2019.
  • The company says it expects to add 450 full-time, casual and contractor positions to its plant in York, Pennsylvania. This is a net loss of 350 jobs, but considering that some of the new jobs aren't full-time, the loss is bigger.
  • The company just announced a dividend increase for shareholders and a stock buyback plan where it will purchase 15 million of its shares with a current value of just under $700 million.
  • In the first three months after Trump signed the tax bill, corporations have spent a record $178 billion in stock buybacks.
  • Harley-Davidson is a profitable company, making between $800 million and $1 billion in pre-tax profits.
  • The company will be opening a plant in Thailand. It says that the new plant isn't related and that it isn't outsourcing jobs, but advocates for working people reject that argument: "Part of my job is being moved to York, but the other part is going to Bangkok," said Richard Pence, a machinist at the Kansas City plant.
  • Greg Tate, a representative of United Steelworkers District 11, which represents about 30% of the plant’s workers, suggested that the tax bill may have freed up money to make the move: "They have the capital now to move Kansas City, to shut it down. All of that money really came from the tax cut plan, so it kind of had the opposite effect of what it was supposed to do."
  • Machinists (IAM) President Robert Martinez Jr. sent a letter to Trump asking him to save the Kansas City plant: "For decades, hardworking Machinists union members have devoted their lives to making high-quality, American-made products for Harley. America’s working men and women deserve better than being thrown out onto the street. Our nation deserves better." Trump did not budge.

Pence appeared on Chris Hayes' show to discuss the layoffs: