UFCW 555 Files Ballot Measures on Government and Workplace Accountability

UFCW 555 Files Ballot Measures on Government and Workplace Accountability. The ballot measures expand accountability of public officials, financial responsibility in hospitals, and workers’ rights in the cannabis industry.

Salem, Oregon – On Friday, June 9th, UFCW Local 555 filed five statewide measures for the 2024 General Election. The ballot measures would expand transparency and accountability of public officials, as well as encouraging financial responsibility in hospitals and protecting the rights of workers in the growing cannabis industry.

“UFCW 555 is fighting to restore accountability and create transparency, as well as bring about smart campaign finance reform and much needed worker protections. Given the legislature’s inability to govern effectively, we are taking some of the most important issues directly to Oregonians.” – Miles Eshaia, UFCW 555 Communications Coordinator and Chief Sponsor of Initiative Petitions 31 and 32.

IP-31: The Lawmaker Accountability Act – Restructures the Ethics Commission (which is currently selected by the lawmakers which the Commission is meant to oversee) to be independently appointed by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. The act also includes a provision requiring lawmakers to report misconduct that they are aware of and would provide for greater transparency of records with regard to elected officials’ misconduct.

IP-32: The Legislative Transparency Act – Closes the loophole that allows lawmakers to meet and deliberate in secret, requires that partisan caucus rules be made public, and prohibits the “selling” of public committee positions through political contributions.

IP-33: Hospital Transparency – Prevents hospitals and health care systems from playing the stock market with their funds and requires hospitals and health care systems to publish certain information about their income, costs, and investments.

IP-34: Smart Campaign Finance Reform – Creates contribution limits for donations to candidates and other political committees, ensures that voters can see who is responsible for political communications, and sets up a matching fund system for small-donor-powered campaigns.  (This measure avoids the loopholes and unanticipated drawbacks that are in other similar measures.)

IP-35: United For Cannabis Workers – Ensures that cannabis workers are guaranteed the same rights as non-agricultural workers by requiring businesses licensed to sell or process cannabis enter into an agreement that allows their employees to organize and speak out without fear of retaliation.

“Oregonians deserve a more transparent, more accountable, and more functional state government than what we’ve got today. With the Legislature unable to do much legislating, we are going directly to hardworking Oregonians of all political stripes that have been shut out and cut off from this process and saying: ‘Here’s how we can start to fix this.’”  – Dan Clay, President of UFCW 555 and one of the Chief Sponsors of the Initiative Petitions.

UFCW Local 555 filed the ballot measures amidst growing tension between the union and the Oregon legislature. In another example of UFCW 555 leaning towards direct democracy mechanisms, the union is also currently spearheading a recall of long-time Democratic House Representative Paul Holvey.