Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor responds to the Oregon Legislature’s convening of a third Special Legislative Session on COVID-19 protections, which comes during a dramatic surge in the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Yesterday the Oregon Health Authority released their weekly report of COVID-19 infections in Oregon. Oregon’s unions are troubled to see 68 deaths and 12,063 cases associated with workplace outbreaks in Oregon. Over the course of the pandemic in these weekly reports, we have consistently seen one in seven or one in eight Oregon cases linked to workplace exposure, illustrating the need to strengthen protections for workers on the job as a critical component to beating the virus. Essential and frontline workers are carrying our state through this pandemic and such heroic actions deserve equally heroic protections from lawmakers.
Working people in Oregon are in a state of emergency, with too many struggling to make ends meet, losing their homes or livelihoods and in the worst cases losing their lives or the lives of loved ones. The Oregon AFL-CIO will provide public comment during tonight’s Joint Committee on the Third 2020 Special Session outlining how lawmakers can protect working people and families before state and federal relief programs expire. Extending the eviction moratorium and putting in place relief for highroad commercial landlords, as well as meaningful budget investments ensuring many workers can continue to quarantine and that all Oregonians can access unemployment relief are key steps we hope to see the Oregon Legislature take right away.
While we are disappointed that more policy actions on worker protections were not considered in 2020, we look forward to swift and decisive policy action on worker priorities and relief in the 2021 Oregon Legislature to make sure that workers can continue to weather this pandemic and safely reopening our economy becomes a reality.”