Over the last year, we’ve seen unprecedented attacks on the labor movement at the national level — but it's clear that when we stand together, we win.
2017 is finally behind us! Over the last year, we’ve seen unprecedented attacks on the labor movement at the national level. Just after taking office, Trump nominated a slew of anti-worker and anti-union extremists to positions throughout the national government, and those nominees wasted no time in repealing key worker protections. Meanwhile, deep-pocketed opponents of workers’ rights have continued their assault on Oregon with no signs of stopping.
These attacks aren’t over, and Oregon is the next battleground. Here’s what’s ahead in 2018:
Anti-Worker Ballot Measures. Big business special interests have filed three initiative petitions designed to limit workers’ ability to advocate for safe working conditions, fair pay, and better workplace policies. These petitions are being funded by the same old corporate dark money scheme we’ve seen time and time again — but with the implementation of the GOP’s tax plan on the horizon, they have more money to spend than ever before.
Attacks on Healthcare. Timber tycoon and longtime anti-worker crusader Andrew Miller is bankrolling the campaign to roll back healthcare coverage for vulnerable Oregonians — and with him is a group long associated with reclusive multimillionaire Loren Parks, who’s spent decades attacking Oregon’s workers. Winning on healthcare will only bolster their regressive agenda, but we have the chance to fight back at the ballot box by voting YES on Measure 101.
The lesson is clear: When we come together in solidarity, we win.
Janus v. AFSCME. Next month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, the successor to last years’ Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. Just like in Friedrichs, the real backer of the lawsuit is bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers’ network of anti-worker organizations. Janus is an opportunity for the Kochs and their allies to defund our unions to make it harder for working people to have a voice.
But we have good reason to remain hopeful. Despite all the bad, 2017 also gave us a roadmap to victory. Here in Oregon, workers won big — here’s how:
Fair Work Week. Oregon became the first state to crackdown on abusive scheduling practices that have become common at large retail, hospitality and food service employers. Once the law takes effect this year, large retail, hotel, and food service employers will be required to give workers two weeks’ notice of their work schedules, to pay for last-minute employer-requested schedule changes, and to separate shifts by at least 10 hours.
Minimum Wage Increase. In 2016, Oregon passed a landmark law to increase the minimum wage for seven consecutive years — and 2017 saw raises for over 300,000 working Oregonians. With nearly a quarter of Oregon’s workforce concentrated in low-wage jobs, this year’s wage increase (and the ones to follow in the coming years!) means that thousands of families will be able to put food on the table, get the healthcare they need, and live with the security they deserve.
Rural Worker Protection Act. Oregon passed a groundbreaking law defending working people from attacks on union security agreements from local jurisdictions, including cities and counties. That’s a big deal: Anti-worker groups like the Koch network specifically target rural communities in hopes that they won’t have the resources to fight back. By passing the Rural Worker Protection Act, Oregon sent a powerful message of solidarity that was heard all across the nation.
Each and every one of these victories was won by working people standing together with unions, advocates, and community leaders. The lesson is clear: When we come together in solidarity, we win. So while we’re facing tougher battles than ever before, we know just how to fight back — and how to continue making progress that benefits every Oregonian.
We may only be days into 2018, but we already have opportunities to show strength in solidarity. If you haven’t already, you still have time to vote YES on Measure 101 to ensure that every Oregonian has access to quality, affordable healthcare no matter where they live or work.
We also have the chance to strike a blow against the heart of the big corporate special interests advancing attacks on working people. Unlike the labor movement’s people power, their power comes from cold, hard cash. For too long, big money extremists have kept us in the dark about their finances, and that allows them to put their thumb on the scale when it matters most. We can change that by requiring big corporations to reveal the same information about their Oregon taxes that they’re already required to reveal about their federal taxes. Add your name for corporate transparency, and let’s bring big corporations’ tax tricks into the light.