Oregon and Washington Buck National Trend

President’s Corner, Dan Clay


Over the course of my career I’ve seen worker’s rights eroded by politicians (and appointed judges) bankrolled by Corporate America.

The Supreme Court ruled it illegal for public sector union members to vote on how their unions were funded, striking a blow to public employees everywhere. The National Labor Relations Board has been overturning past rulings at a record pace.

It seems there is no limit to what they are willing to attack. In January the Supreme Court rescheduled lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act to after the election; the speculation is that working people aren’t going to like the ruling. There is no question that big business’s attack lawyers will continue to rip apart the rules protecting working people and small businesses.

How can corporations afford to buy all this political clout? Well, they make a lot of money by not fairly compensating their employees. Those workers in turn must rely on assistance programs, and guess who pays for that? Not these wildly profitable corporations, who in most cases pay lower tax rates than you and me.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We don’t have to bow to the whims of whatever corporation pays Washington D.C. politicians the most. We can set our own paths and help better the destinies of those we care about: working people.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, legislators passed laws that benefit working people, starting with First Day Sick Pay which was led by Local 555 and the locals in Washington. We worked to pass Fair Work Week, which again was led by our Union. In the last session, Oregon passed Paid Family and Medical Leave, creating stability for working families.

Our Union is leading the way to a better future. We sponsored a ballot measure we are calling The Oregon Taxpayer Reimbursement Act (OTRA). It would require these corporations to pay Oregon taxpayers back when the State of Oregon has to assist employees in keeping their heads above water.

Over the next few months we will be working hard in Salem and Olympia to make sure that the laws that get passed benefit working people, not just corporations. We will be raising money to pass worker friendly laws and supporting the legislators who are fighting for them.

Corporations and billionaires buy politicians nationally; we have to support the elected officials that don’t sell out to Corporate America and work to make Oregon and Washington different.