2022: A Year of Solidarity and Wins for Oregon Labor
2022 has been an incredible year for the Oregon Labor Movement, and we truly couldn’t have done it without you. From victories in the Oregon Legislature to a successful and uplifting convention, to winning big for workers in the Primary and General Elections, 2022 has been a whirlwind year. Amidst these victories we’ve also seen workers stand up, speak out and make a real difference in their workplaces through strike votes, strikes, and organizing wins. Here’s a short wrap-up of all we’ve accomplished this year, TOGETHER.
The 2022 Oregon Legislature was absolutely jam packed with wins over the five short weeks legislators met in Salem to turn ideas into laws. Together, our movement and our partners passed overtime for farmworkers, ending a racist exclusion that’s been on the books since 1938, secured pandemic assistance for low income Oregonians, made historic investments into childcare. And on January 1, 2023 several of the bills we worked hard to pass will become law, including:
SB 1513: Forced Overtime for Bakery Workers which will help protect bakery and tortilleria workers from being unfairly punished when they are unable to fulfill an overtime shift if they were not given enough notice from management.
SB 1586: Discrimination & Sexual Harassment Non-Disclosure Agreement Clean Up which ensures that workers are able to tell their stories without the constraint of non-disclosure agreements and other methods used by employers to insulate themselves from accountability.
HB 4086: Workers Compensation Modernization which modernizes Oregon’s workers’ compensation system so that the system evolves to meet the needs of Oregon’s working families.
After the legislature adjourned, we proudly hosted the 2022 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention in Portland, at our state’s newest union built and union represented hotel! Delegates passed 25 powerful resolutions, including a resolution calling on the Oregon AFL-CIO to reinvigorate our organizing program, a resolution stating unequivocally that reproductive rights are workers’ rights, and a resolution welcoming the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association into the AFL-CIO as a new affiliate. WIth over 300 delegates in attendance at our first big event since the beginning of the pandemic, we left Convention feeling energized and ready to take on the fights for justice in the coming years.
The 2022 Primary Election was successful thanks to the participation and the engagement of our affiliate unions. You stepped up to mobilize volunteers to talk to voters about Oregon Labor endorsed candidates. Together, the Oregon Labor Movement accomplished a lot:
Knocked on over 18,680 doors
Made over 58,298 phone calls
IDed over 7,349 voters
Completed 23 worksite flyering shifts with 9 unions participating with 1200 flyers distributed
Filled 589 volunteer shifts from over 22 union affiliates and partner groups
We won races up and down the ballot in the May Primary, including handily sending Christina Stephenson to the ballot in the General Election for Labor Commissioner, winning the primary race for Val Hoyle in Congressional District 4, and winning legislative and local elections across the state.
In between elections, our collective work didn’t stop. In June we organized a contingent of union members to march in the 2022 Portland Pride Parade. We also hosted the first Oregon Labor Climate Summit in July to bring together union members and leaders from every sector of the economy to talk about the future of clean energy jobs and how unions can build power for workers in this industry.
A successful Primary Election set us up to do even more in the General Election in the fall. Immediately following Labor Day, Oregon’s unions lept into action and once again - with the support and participation of our affiliates - we were able to win big for Oregon’s workers. Together we exceeded our goals for the election by:
Knocking on over 84,726 doors
Making over 100,851 phone calls
IDing over 15,000 voters
Completing 11 worksite flyering events with with 9 unions participating
Filling 1,252 volunteer and paid affiliate shifts from 21 union affiliates and partner groups
We won pivotal races all the way down the ballot. We elected pro-worker, pro-union Tina Kotek as Governor, elected Christina Stephenson - a champion for workers - as Labor Commissioner, won four out of five Congressional races, and won 41 out of 46 Legislative races - ensuring a pro-worker, pro-union majority in the Oregon Legislature. These wins will allow us to continue to make progress for Oregon’s workers through bold policies designed to uplift working people and families.
Alongside the election, we did everything we could to support IAMAW members on strike at Weyerhaeuser. Our efforts to support these brave workers included organizing elected officials to visit the strike lines, donating supplies, spreading the word about the strike through all of our communications channels, and holding a rally with National AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, IAMAW General Vice President Gary Allen, IAMAW District Lodge W24 President and Directing Business Representative Brandon Bryant, and Labor Commissioner and then-candidate for Congressional District 4 Val Hoyle. The rally came on the heels of Weyerhaeuser workers reaching a tentative agreement with the company and we know that our collective pressure and solidarity across the Oregon Labor Movement helped bring management to the table with a sensible offer.
2022 was a year of progress for working people in Congress as well. In March, after years of advocacy from Postal Service unions and allies, Congress passed the Postal Reform Act which preserves six day delivery and lifts some of the budget requirements that have burdened the Postal Service. In July, the American Labor Movement worked hard to pass the CHIPS act, a critical step toward rectifying years of underinvestment in our nation’s manufacturing and research and development capabilities. In August, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a much-needed piece of legislation that helps working families through prescription drug prices, preventing insurance premium spikes, making taxes more fair, and lowering carbon emissions. The Labor Movement continues to monitor how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is being implemented and ensuring it does what it is intended to do: creating investment in our nation’s infrastructure and providing family-wage jobs from coast to coast. Pension relief, part of the American Recovery Act passed last year, is underway as well, with a troubled Teamsters pension recently receiving close to a billion dollars of assistance among so many other impacted union pension plans. We're thankful for the work union members did in 2020 to elect President Joe Biden, and for his unabashedly pro-union administration that is making progress for working people across the country.
We ended the year by unanimously electing Aida Aranda, the training director of the Oregon and Southern Idaho Laborers Employers Training Trust as the new Oregon AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer! Aida brings a career of impressive experience to the Oregon AFL-CIO and we couldn’t be more excited about her joining our team.
2022 was an incredible year for workers, and we know that 2023 will present new opportunities as well as challenges for working people. We have seen a huge increase in petitions for union representation at the National Labor Relations Board, watched high-profile union organizing campaigns explode into the national consciousness, and saw Oregon become the fourth-most union dense state in the country. Together we can make next year even better, and we look forward to standing side by side with all of Oregon Labor to accomplish our goals and continue to make Oregon a truly Union Strong state.