One Year After Janus

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: One Year After Janus
June 26, 2019

One Year After Janus

On June 27 last year, the Supreme Court of the United States advanced Corporate America’s agenda by siding against working people in the Janus V. AFSCME case. Many pundits expected the ruling in Janus to be the end of the American Labor Movement, but the last 12 months have demonstrated the exact opposite. We are thriving, fighting harder than ever to build a pathway to prosperity for all working people.

Collective action and organizing are on the rise in Oregon, and across the country. Just in the past month, we’ve seen workers stand up and speak out for higher education, healthcare workers demand a fair contract, nurses vote to stand together in union, and grocery workers call for pay equity. These are inspiring campaigns driven by workers who understand that joining a union ensures a fair return on their hard work. What’s more, these advances in the fight for prosperity are further proof that anti-worker groups like the Freedom Foundation are failing at their mission to destroy unions.

The Freedom Foundation paints themselves as a cutting-edge group that fights for the rights of workers. The truth could not be further from their manufactured image: they are ineffective at stopping the power of people seeking a voice at work through the power of a union. In 2014, their CEO declared war on unions in order to advance a right-wing agenda. They have aligned themselves with the shadow network of anti-worker organizations who push cases like Janus through the legal system. They have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with racist and anti-LGBTQ+ groups and politicians. And they have failed to extinguish the fire of workers fighting for change.

Here are the facts about the Freedom Foundation:

  • They have failed at their mission to destroy West Coast unions.
  • The have spent $20 million on their campaign to “opt out” workers and have nothing to show for it.
  • They claim to be an aggressive, door-knocking operation but spend most of their resources on emails, text messages and cheap ads on social media.

Moving forward from the anniversary of Janus, we will continue to fight for the rights of all working people and to monitor and oppose groups like the Freedom Foundation. Together, as Oregon's Union Movement, we will continue to build power and strength for all working people.

Executive Paywatch 2019

The National AFL-CIO released its annual Executive Paywatch report this week. National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer (and Oregonian!) Liz Shuler discussed the federation’s findings during a call with reporters, highlighting the continuing pay inequity between workers and CEOs, discussing the impact of the Trump administration’s tax law on executive compensation and pointing out some of the worst offenders among major corporations. You can view the full report, including state-by-state data, HERE.

Below are some key points from the report:

●       $14.5 Million: S&P 500 CEOs’ average 2018 compensation.

●       287:1: The average S&P 500 CEO-to-worker pay ratio.

●       $5.2 Million: Increase in the average S&P 500 CEO’s pay over the past 10 years, a raise of more than half a million dollars annually.

●       $7,858: Increase in the average U.S. rank-and-file worker’s pay over the past 10 years, a raise of less than $800 per year annually.

●       $93 Billion: Decrease in corporate income tax collections following the passage of the 2017 GOP tax cut, a 31% drop for FY 2018.

●       $0: Federal income taxes paid by 60 of the largest U.S. companies in 2018 despite being profitable. This list includes corporations like Amazon, Activision Blizzard and Delta Airlines.

Raising the Minimum Wage

On July 1, an estimated 253,400 working Oregonians earning minimum wage will receive a raise. The Oregon AFL-CIO, the statewide federation of unions, applauds this increase and remains committed to ensuring all workers have a pathway to prosperity.

“In 2016 Oregon’s unions advocated tirelessly in favor of raising the minimum wage,” said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. “We are proud of the work we did three years ago to raise wages, but the fact remains that Oregon’s economy is leaving too many working people behind while corporate profits soar. That’s why Oregon’s unions are fighting harder than ever to organize workers into unions, to encourage more people to stand together. When more people belong to unions, everyone does better. We know that those who hold the wealth in this country and in our state will not willingly give workers a fair return on their work. They rig the rules against us. By standing together in unions, working people level the playing field.”

This year’s minimum wage increase is $0.50 per hour for each of Oregon’s three regions:

  • Non-Urban Counties will increase from $10.50 per hour to $11.00
  • Standard will increase from $10.75 per hour to $11.25
  • Portland Metro will increase from $12.00 per hour to $12.50

Workers earning the minimum wage should check their pay stubs following the July 1st increase and contact Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries Wage and Hour Division if they have any questions about the increase or to report an employer who is not increasing wages in accordance with the law.