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Oregon’s Unions Respond to 2020 Oregon Primary Election Results

The Oregon AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations), the statewide federation of unions representing over 300,000 workers, has spent the past four months mobilizing union members to volunteer and educate voters about candidates who support the Federation’s vision of an equal and just economy for all Oregonians.

Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor reacted to the results of the 2020 Primary Election:

“When Oregon’s unions endorse candidates for elected office, we look hard at records, backgrounds, and lived experiences because we are searching for champions for working people, not just lukewarm supporters. Our endorsements in this election are no exception, and last night’s results show us that a brighter future is ahead for Oregon’s workers. We are inspired to see the large majority of Labor-endorsed State Legislative and local candidates win their races last night. As Oregon’s economy begins to reopen and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are going to need champions at every level of elected office to fight for a fair and more just economy, not just to get back to a pre-pandemic status quo. That economic system was leaving too many workers behind before our economy collapsed.”

While the race for the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State remains too close to call, the Oregon AFL-CIO is proud to have endorsed State Senator Shemia Fagan because of her strong record of unabashedly standing up for working Oregonians.

Working people and their unions were active in this election at the local level and in communities around the state as well. Whether it was a union member running for City Council, a champion for workers running for County Commission, or a historic local bond campaign that included high-road job creation standards, working Oregonians prevailed last night statewide.

Per a resolution passed at the 2019 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention, the Federation restricted contributions and support for lawmakers during the 2020 Oregon Primary who turned their backs on firefighters, nurses, educators, and all workers during the 2019 Legislative Session by voting for Senate Bill 1049, which cut PERS benefits. President Trainor explained why that resolution presented an opportunity for Oregon Labor:

“Unions are not beholden to a political party. When Legislators voted to cut PERS benefits, they turned their backs on workers. We did not, and will not, support any politician who promises one thing on the campaign trail but does something very different and damaging once they’re elected. With that in mind, we endorsed candidates for the 2020 Primary with a proven commitment to lifting up all working people and will continue to view future endorsements with that same lens of accountability.”


he Oregon AFL-CIO operates the largest, independent, non-partisan voter outreach program in the state, mobilizing union members to contact hundreds of thousands of voters statewide in races up and down the ticket.

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