Working Oregonians have suffered the brunt of 2020 in countless ways. Despite the incredible challenges brought on by a global pandemic, economic fallout, and a nationwide reckoning with racial injustice, working people once again stood together to elect champions for working people and families in Oregon. By putting workers first, we can rebuild our economy and our communities in a way that changes the course of our state and our nation. That takes leaders from the White House to the State House who not only understand the struggles facing working people, but who will champion policies that fight back against economic inequality, racial injustice, and ensure that Oregon and our country are never this unprepared for a challenge this large again.
Oregon’s unions have spent most of this year training, recruiting, and campaigning for an unprecedented slate of diverse candidates, many of whom are union members themselves, to do just that: win for workers at the ballot box, and then put workers first with policy in the months and years ahead as we rebuild from the current crises. The Oregon AFL-CIO’s Labor 2020 grassroots political program broke records for volunteer engagement, mailings, and total phone calls, reaching out to more than 250,000 union members and their families encouraging them to vote for Labor’s endorsed candidates and ballot measures. Tonight’s results prove that working people made the difference in countless races.
Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor remarked on tonight’s election returns:
Oregon’s Labor Movement is proud of the groundbreaking grassroots effort to win for workers up and down the ticket and across the country tonight. As we rebuild our economy and our communities, working Oregonians deserve leaders that will put them first, and many of tonight’s results show that voters made that exact choice.
Oregon’s workers are incredibly proud to elect State Senator Shemia Fagan as our next Secretary of State. Senator Fagan has always stood with working families, even when it wasn’t popular. She led the fight for paid family and medical leave so that no Oregonian must choose between taking care of a loved one or losing their job, and she proudly stood with educators and nurses as leaders of her own party aimed to cut their retirement benefits. Senator Fagan has stood by working people and families her whole career and now, Oregon workers have once again stood by her.
We’re also excited to see Senator Merkley, Congressman DeFazio, Congresswoman Bonamici, and Congressman Blumenauer reelected to continue serving as key leaders in Oregon’s Congressional delegation. The stakes for working people and families across the country have arguably never been higher. Oregon’s labor movement is incredibly excited to work with these champions to ensure Oregon can recover from this pandemic and build an economy that works for all working people and families.
We are also fiercely proud of the work Oregon’s union members did on State Legislative races this year, the most diverse slate of endorsed candidates ever, many of whom are union members or have a background in worker advocacy. We look forward to working with these leaders in the 2021 Oregon Legislature and beyond as Oregon continues to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism and defending the rights of all working people.
Looking beyond our state’s borders, Oregon’s unions stand with the labor movement nationwide in our call for every vote to be counted. Joe Biden’s growing national lead reflects a country ready to turn the page on the dysfunction and division of the Trump era, and we are confident that when all the votes are counted, the Electoral College will render the same verdict. America’s labor movement will defend our democratic republic and ensure our next president will be the person who is the choice of the citizens of the United States. Simply put, voters must decide—not courts, not legislators and certainly not one of the candidates.