We’re proud of the successes of this year, but the challenges ahead threaten everything we’ve done. With your help, 2016 can be our best year yet.
2015 was a great year for Oregon workers. Thanks to the hard work of some of the state’s labor unions and community advocates, we scored some significant victories:
- With the passage of the Oregon Retirement Security Bill, every worker in Oregon will now be able to plan for a secure retirement after a lifetime of work.
- Qualified job applicants with prior convictions or arrests will now be given a second chance at a fair shot, as the “box” (asking about prior convictions) has been banned from job applications.
- We’ve officially prohibited profiling by law enforcement and are working to implement a statewide reporting system.
- Perhaps most notable, hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers now have paid sick leave, a basic workplace protection.
We’re proud of the successes of the last year, but we know that there’s more work yet to be done. In the winter, we need to win a statewide increase in Oregon’s minimum wage. Then, we need to get ready, because in response to the important victories we’ve won for working families this year, corporate interests have launched attacks that will make it harder for us to continue this work.
- Seven initiatives for the 2016 ballot have been filed that are designed to dismantle labor unions and labor protections for working people. It’s worth noting that the largest political donor in Oregon history is funding much of this fight and has already spent nearly $100,000 on 2016 initiatives — and the election is about a year away. It’s going to be a tough fight.
- The Freedom Foundation, an extremist group intent on dismantling unions in Washington state, is now running an outpost in Oregon and is using every means possible to amplify its rhetoric. They say that unions need to be destroyed because they fight for working people, and to undermine support, they’re running TV ads, buying billboards and even bullying workers at worksites, all with the intention of getting members to opt out of their unions. (The Freedom Foundation is also well-funded, with ties to the Koch Brothers.)
- Friedrichs vs. CTA, a Supreme Court case coordinated by the same network of powerful donors who are running ballot measures and anti-worker TV ads, and a case that would make it harder for working people to have a voice in our economy, will be decided in the summer of 2016. If won, this case would create a system for our country in which unions lose their ability effectively represent workers.
These are all coordinated attacks, and they pose real threats, but we aren’t letting them stop us. We know that if we stand together, we will win. As we gear up for the battles to come in 2016, we ask that you sign the pledge to stand together for an agenda that holds corporations accountable and gives all Oregonians a voice on the job and fair pay.