Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor responds to the adjournment of the final Special Legislative Session of 2020:
Oregon’s unions are pleased to see our legislature take action to help working families who would have been evicted from their homes otherwise. Working people, especially workers of color and women, are feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic worse than anyone else in our society. Support for stable housing is a step in the right direction for our state’s recovery, but we know much more work will need to be done in the new year to protect workers’ safety, livelihoods, and prosperity.
As we await relief from the federal government to catch up to the needs on the ground and in our communities, the legislature's allocation of $600 million to the Oregon Emergency Board shows a commitment to getting besieged workers the support they need through investments in existing worker relief programs.
While these supports and protections are important steps forward, there is still much work to do to meet the challenges and the needs of Oregon’s working families. In the new year and during the 2021 legislative session, we expect swift and decisive action on policies that ensure Oregon’s workers are protected at work, that vulnerable workers can get time off and treatment when they are exposed to COVID-19, and that every Oregon worker can make the choice to quarantine if they are sick or to take care of a loved one.
With up to 1 in 7 COVID infections stemming from workplace outbreaks, we know that worker protections are a critical part of the solution to beating the virus in 2021.”