Fighting Automation

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Fighting Automation
September 4, 2019

New Podcast Episode!

The latest episode of The Voice of Oregon’s Workers is up! This month we interviewed Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain who will retire following our 56th Biennial Convention in Seaside later this month. Click here to hear from President Chamberlain about his experience at the helm of Oregon’s union movement.

Fighting Back Against Automation

Tomorrow the Oregon AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations) will submit over 1,500 sponsorship signatures to move The Grocery Store Service and Community Protection Act forward to appearing on the 2020 Oregon Ballot.

Oregon AFL-CIO President and chief petitioner of The Grocery Store Service and Community Protection Act Tom Chamberlain explained why Oregon’s unions are taking on this important issue:

“The widescale use of self-checkout machines in our state’s grocery stores is part of a deliberate corporate strategy that relies on automation to reduce labor costs and eliminate jobs. It disproportionately impacts workers of color. It disadvantages and inconveniences customers, especially the elderly and people with disabilities. That is why we are putting this issue on the ballot, to send a message to corporate America and to let Oregon’s voters have their voice heard on how we shop for the goods and commodities that our families rely on.”

Click here to read more about our attack on automation.

Labor Day & PERS

Monday was Labor Day, and thousands of union members gathered at picnics and events across the state to celebrate everything that makes our labor movement great. This year, however, some State Legislators were not invited to speak at picnics – specifically the lawmakers who voted to cut PERS benefits for Oregon’s public employees.  A recent article in the Portland Tribune quotes several Oregon legislators about their votes on PERS:

The PERS vote was a vote we needed to do to pass the Student Success Act," defended state Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Northeast Portland, referring to the law that will boost public school funding by $1 billion a year.”

Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-East Portland, said he had been pressured to vote differently by people who reminded Hernandez that he had never been in a union. But the lawmaker, who said his mom continues to work as a house cleaner, was unswayed.

"Workers rights, that is a black-and-white issue," Hernandez said. "I'm going to keep voting my values."

Click here to read the full article and stay tuned for ways to help Oregon's unions and public employees hold elected leaders accountable for their betrayal on PERS.

Talking Trade

After talking trade and union power on “Fox News Sunday” over Labor Day weekend, National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) today leads a delegation of U.S. labor leaders to Mexico City. They are meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to make clear that America’s workers need a new NAFTA that actually works for us.

Serious problems remain in the proposed agreement, including its total inability to enforce labor standards across the continent. Working people in the United States, Mexico and Canada deserve better, and we won’t settle for anything less than a pro-worker trade deal.

Click here to tell Congress we need a new NAFTA that works for working people.