Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: We’re Not Quieting Down
January 23, 2018
Not Quieting Down: LA Teachers Strike
Less than a month into 2019, the teachers of Los Angeles have proven that last year’s wave of collective action isn’t quieting down. After taking to the streets in a strike that has captured the country’s imagination, members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) are returning to classrooms today after overwhelmingly approving a paradigm-shifting contract that delivers on key demands.
“For too long teachers have lived with a hard truth to tell—that for years our students were being starved of the resources they need,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl following the vote. “Our expectations were fundamentally raised by this strike. Together, we said we deserve better, our students deserve better. We must keep our expectations high and not let go of this moment, because the next struggle is right around the corner.”
For six days, more than 30,000 UTLA teachers went on strike to shine a light on the daily realities of a neglected and underfunded public-school system. They demanded better, and by standing together, they won it. Here are just a few critical improvements in UTLA’s new contract:
- A much-deserved 6% pay raise with no contingencies;
- A nurse in every school five days a week;
- A teacher librarian in every secondary school five days a week;
- Hard caps on class size that will go into effect immediately in 2019–2020, with additional improvements every year after;
- A commitment to reduce testing by 50%;
- Hard caps on special education caseloads; and
- A clear pathway to cap charter schools.
Shutdown Update & Call to Action
Last week, workers at Portland International Airport impacted by the government shutdown made headlines as supporters rallied outside and distributed donations of food to impacted workers.
With no clear end in sight to the shutdown, we need to keep stepping up to support impacted workers and their families. Labor's Community Service Agency, along with the Oregon AFL-CIO and Northwest Oregon Labor Council, are providing immediate resources to the 9,500 Federal workers in Oregon going into their 5th week without pay. LCSA has delivered 10,000 lbs. of food to Portland International Airport workers so that they may put food on the table for their families.
“Your support means we don’t have to choose between coming to work or finding food resources. The immediate assistance can alleviate the stress and allow us to focus on doing our jobs. Thank you for standing with us.” – Brandon Baity, member of TSA workforce at Portland International Airport.
TAKE ACTION: We will continue to deliver food and gas resources to all statewide federal workers impacted by this unjust government shutdown, but we need your help to provide support to more workers. Click here to donate to LCSA which will go directly to assistance for impacted workers.
Veterans Hit Hard by Shutdown
Those who served to defend our country are among the hardest hit by the government shutdown, reports ConnectingVets.com:
“According to the Office of Personnel Management estimate, nearly 1/3 of all government workers are veterans. That being the case it makes mathematical sense that vets would, at the very least, be among the groups hardest hit by the shutdown. AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council Executive Director, Army veteran Will Attig says as the shutdown drags on he says it's getting worse for the veteran population affected by the shutdown.
"Lately we've been really hearing (they're) stressed, feelings of hopelessness, a feeling of being left behind and betrayal," Attig says of the e-mails and calls the Council has been receiving. "Those are words that we don't like hearing from our veterans."
Attig says OPM estimates around 155,000 vets are either being sent home or working without pay. He says one of the biggest concerns is that many of these veterans are working important, and even dangerous, jobs that require their entire focus while also dealing with hardships incurred due to the lack of pay.”