The Tide is Changing

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: The Tide is Changing
October 2, 2019

Boycott Called Off at Fred Meyer

On Saturday, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 announced that after 13 negotiation sessions with grocery employers and months of community pressure, a tentative agreement has been reached.

In a press release, Local 555 called for an immediate end to the boycott of Fred Meyer and thanked the community for supporting Local 555 members during this long fight:

“UFCW Local 555 thanks everyone for their support of our boycott campaign. Our bargaining team is happy to report that we were successful in addressing all of our concerns. Local 555 recognizes that this would not have been possible without the support of our community. We are now asking all of our supporters to cease the boycott and resume their normal shopping habits, including shopping at Fred Meyer.”

Implementing the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act

During the 2019 Legislative Session, Oregon’s unions and our allies fought for the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act (SB 726). Yesterday, a key portion of it took effect: Victims of discrimination and harassment now have 5 years (instead of just one year) to report an incident in the workplace to BOLI or an attorney. This puts Oregon in line with our country’s best protections against workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.

The Tide is Changing: What the GM Strike Means

As General Motors workers continue to strike for a fair contract, some are looking to the massive strike as a sign of a changing tide for unions in our country, particularly in the southern states:

“For decades, the United Auto Workers has struggled to unionize foreign auto plants in the South. But union activists at plants scattered across the region say that the high-profile GM strike has created new momentum for unions here. The strike could ignite organizing that could help to improve working conditions for tens of thousands of auto workers throughout the South, where auto plants have moved in recent years to avoid UAW bastions in the Rust Belt.”

Click here to read more about what the GM strike means for our movement.
Click here to read the latest from GM bargaining.

New Podcast Episode

The latest episode of our podcast is up!  This episode features a panel discussion from our convention, which covers the importance of using a workers’ preferred pronouns and how unions can embrace this step toward greater inclusivity.  If you enjoy our podcast, please make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

New Trump Overtime Rules Will Cost Workers $1.4 Billion in First Year Alone

This article appears courtesy of the AFL-CIO Blog

The Trump administration’s Labor Department issued new overtime rules this week that take away $1.4 billion of workers’ pay every year compared to the Obama administration rules they replace. The amount of this pay cut for working people will increase enormously over time.

Although the economic recovery that started in 2009 under then-President Obama is now officially more than 10 years old, workers’ wages are still barely budging. Something is clearly wrong with the economy. Workers are not getting our fair share of the profits we help produce.

The Obama administration tried to do something about this problem by making millions more workers eligible for overtime pay, restoring protections that have eroded in recent decades.

Instead of defending the Obama administration’s overtime rules against a poorly reasoned and seriously flawed district court decision, the Trump administration decided to replace them with a new set of rules that protect millions fewer workers.

The Obama rules would extend overtime eligibility to 3.2 million more workers than the Trump rules that replace them. In addition, the Obama rules would make it harder for businesses to misclassify millions of overtime-eligible workers⁠—5 million more than the Trump rules.

The Obama rules would extend overtime eligibility to millions more workers by raising the salary threshold, which is used to determine which workers are eligible for overtime. Workers who earn less than the salary threshold are automatically eligible; so the higher the threshold, the more workers covered. Under the Obama rules, the threshold would be $51,000 in 2020. This would actually be a lower threshold than if you simply adjusted the 1975 level for inflation⁠—which comes out to $56,500. By contrast, the Trump rules now set the threshold at only $35,568.

The Trump overtime rules also protect fewer and fewer workers every year as inflation eats away at the value of the salary threshold. The Obama overtime rules would put a stop to this constant erosion of overtime coverage by providing for regular automatic updates of the salary threshold. The Trump rules leave out this essential safeguard for working people. This is why the annual pay loss to workers of $1.4 billion in the first year alone will keep getting bigger every year.