2020 Primary – Even in a quarantine, labor claims victory

This week, Oregonians showed our country how well the vote-by-mail process can work. The state boasted a greater than 46% voter turnout from passionate citizens who made sure their voices were heard even during a “shelter-in-place” order. The labor movement didn’t let the COVID pandemic stop us from reaching out all across the state to support our labor champion candidates, and the results were clear: the people demand more pro-labor voices in elected office.

At UFCW Local 555, we have seen nearly 2,000 members join our Active Ballot Club in the last two months alone; that support helped us get behind successful labor-supportive candidates at every level of government. Thank you to each member who made their voice heard by voting or participating in the ABC. You are creating powerful positive change.

It wasn’t a perfect night (it so rarely is), but we handily won the bulk of our targeted races, and we elected more of our friends, supporters, and even former members.

In the Primary Election:

  • Former UFCW members Maxine Dexter and Chris Gorsek won in House District 33 and Senate District 25 respectively
  • Tualatin Valley Firefighter and IAFF 1660 member Dacia Grayber won in House District 35.
  • Strong labor advocates won with overwhelming labor support, like Wlnsvey Campos in House District 28, Kahnh Pham in House District 46, Ricki Ruiz in House District 50, and many others in county and local governments across Oregon.

It is so important—especially during our national pandemic— that our elected officials will have our backs in the upcoming special session as we fight for adequate protective gear, Presumptive Workers Compensation for essential workers who contract COVID-19, and other crucial protective measures.

Though the Oregon primary is over, we are far from done. We still have battles to fight and win together:

  • In Southwest Washington, former UFCW member Carolyn Long is running for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District this August and we will be there to support her, because we know she is ready for the job.
  • After nearly 24 hours of ballot counting, State Senator Shemia Fagan, the statewide candidate with the largest array of Labor support, clinched the Democratic nomination for Oregon Secretary of State and will go on to run in the November general election. We will be there!

Now more than ever, we need strong labor champions standing up for working people in Congress. So while we celebrate labor’s big wins in this Oregon primary, remember that we are far from done!

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