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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: January 4, 2024

The Oregon Labor Dispatch is a weekly email and blog series designed to keep Oregon’s workers informed of the latest news about unions, worker power, and much more. Each week, we bring you a curated selection of news stories, graphics, and information about upcoming events and actions. When Oregon’s Labor Movement is connected, updated and informed we are able to be stronger advocates for all working Oregonians.


If you have a news story, event or action you’d like to see featured in the Oregon Labor Dispatch please email us at communications@oraflcio.org.



Keep up with the latest from Oregon’s unions: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

 

Upcoming Events 

🏤 Rally: Save the Postal Service & Postal Jobs 

Monday, January 8, 2024 | East Portland Post Office, 1020 SE 7th in Portland (map) 

Join APWU Local 128 and the Oregon Labor Movement to protest a massive transformation to the Portland area’s Postal Service that will cost workers their jobs and even close some neighborhood Post Offices.  


✊🏽 The 2024 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference

January, 12 - 14, 2024 | Montgomery, Alabama 

The conference in 2024 will occur at a crucial moment for the labor and civil rights movements, as workers across the country are organizing at historic rates for dignity, respect and justice, both on the job and in our communities. Click here to learn more & register.


Take Action 

💲 Donate to the GTFF Strike Fund 

The GTFF, a union representing more than 1,400 Graduate Employees at the University of Oregon, has been in contentious contract negotiations with the UO since March 2023. The UO’s refusal to provide a contract that enables GEs to live with dignity has pushed GTFF members to prepare for a potential strike. In order to prepare to hold the line for a fair contract, GTFF is asking for community members, GTFF alumni, fellow labor unions, and other allies to contribute to their Strike Fund. 


📩 Tell the University of Oregon Board of Trustees: Don’t Cut Off Employee Healthcare!

Take action to stand with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation at the University of Oregon who are fighting hard for a fair contract and may face cuts to their healthcare by the Board of Trustees.  


🏫 Respect for Oregon Public University Staff

Please take a moment to sign a pledge in support of the 4,500 classified workers at Oregon’s public universities in their campaign to win working conditions that help students succeed, and wages that allow them to support themselves and their families. Click here to sign on. 


Know Your Rights: New Oregon Laws in 2024 

Many laws that passed during the 2023 session went into effect on January 1, including unemployment insurance protections for classified educators, improved school infrastructure safety and quality measures, firefighters apprenticeship programs and protections for childcare providers in rental properties. 


Learn more about these bills and the labor priorities that already went into effect by reading our report about the 2023 Oregon Legislature.  Some of the new laws for 2024 include: 


  • SB 128: Allows Chaplains in correctional facilities to earn PERS

  • SB 489: Unemployment insurance protections for Classified Educators

  • SB 599: Allows home childcare providers to operate in rental properties 

  • HB 2294: Creates a registered apprenticeship program for Firefighters  

  • HB 3031: Improves School Safety Infrastructure


And in case you missed it, Oregon workers are now better protected thanks to SB 592, employers with unsafe working conditions now face steeper penalties and improved inspections. To learn more about how these protections will impact your workplace, check out our blog post.


Oregon Labor 

December 20, 2023 | Oregon AFL-CIO 

“2023 has been a banner year for Oregon Labor, and the success we saw is thanks to the hard work, dedication, and incredible efforts made by every union in Oregon.  From a windfall of legislative wins during the 2023 Oregon Legislature, to supporting unions on strike around the state, to winning in local elections, to an exciting and inspiring 2023 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention, we are proud and fired up by everything Oregon Labor has done together this year.”


January 2, 2024 | Oregon Business 

Quote from Anne Tan Piazza, Executive Director, ONA: “The high point of 2023 for me was the activism undertaken by nurses and other health care workers to address Oregon’s safe-staffing crisis. The passage of HB 2697 was historic, not just for Oregon but for the nation, and sets an incredibly high bar for the rest of the country on how to ensure safe staffing in acute-care settings. Nurses across the state, and ONA members specifically, raised their voices on behalf of their patients and their communities in an unprecedented way, which resulted in the passage of a “best in the nation” staffing law that will save lives, retain nurses at the bedside and bring nurses back to work who had left due to unsafe working conditions.”  


January 3, 2024 | The Oregonian 

“Federal labor officials are seeking to force Starbucks to reopen three Portland stores and others across the country that the coffee giant closed in 2022, saying the closures were intended to crack down on union activity.”


December 29, 2023 | The Oregonian 

“Auto workers. Actors. Teachers. Nurses. Bursts of labor unrest, both nationally and locally, this year have cast a spotlight on unions and their ability to notch significant gains for workers who belong to them.”


Looking Back on 2023, Looking Forward to 2024 

January 3, 2024 | The Guam Daily Post 

“If 2023 was a historic year for workers with gains in pay and new contracts, how much longer can the momentum last in an economy that can’t decide if it is roaring or trudging along?”


January 2, 2024 | Bloomberg Law 

“After a year of record-breaking strikes, expiring contracts in 2024 signal another significant but likely smaller potential wave of labor unrest. More than 1.1 million workers are covered by large union contracts that are due to end next year, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis of filings with the federal mediation service. “


January 2, 2024 | Reuters 

“The coming year will reveal the full impact of a U.S. labor board's recent rulings that were seen as providing a major boost to union organizing and whether those changes can withstand legal challenges amid a series of high-profile labor campaigns.”


December 29, 2023 | Florida Courier 

From AFSCME President Lee Saunders: “AFSCME affiliates across the country have been a part of this wave of strike activity. From workers in Yamhill County, Oregon, to employees in the Morgan County, Ohio, school district, AFSCME members withheld their labor until their employer afforded them the respect they deserve.”


November 21, 2023 | CNN Business 

“Nearly 900,000 Americans sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner this week will have unions – and the double-digit pay increases they won – to thank. That’s how many unionized workers have won immediate pay hikes of 10% or more in just the last year, according to an analysis by CNN.”


Union-Busting

January 4, 2024 | UAW 

“Today, 33 U.S. Senators are calling on 13 non-union auto companies to refrain from union-busting as over 150,000 autoworkers have launched campaigns to organize with the UAW. In a letter sent to the CEOs of the automakers, the Senators, led by Senators Peters, Stabenow, Padilla, Butler, and Brown stressed the importance of respecting workers’ right to form a union, and encouraged the companies to commit to neutrality in any organizing effort.”


Labor History 

January 3, 2024 | AFSCME

“Elmore Nickleberry, Memphis sanitation worker who went on strike in 1968, dies at 92

Elmore Nickleberry, one of the original AFSCME sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968 to fight for fair wages, safer worker conditions, union recognition and dignity, has died in Memphis at age 92.”


International Solidarity 

January 2, 2024 | Portside 

“What began nine weeks ago with a group of mechanics in Sweden demanding that Tesla agree to collective bargaining has evolved into a broader fight for the Nordic region’s way of work and life. The stakes are high, too, for the carmaker and its CEO Elon Musk, the world’s richest man.”


Standing Together & Organizing 

January 3, 2024 | KINV 

“Hundreds of Culinary Union Local 226 workers gathered Wednesday to hear a congratulatory message from the United States Vice President Kamala Harris. Harris' visit to Las Vegas comes on the heels of a historic employment deal made between three resort corporations: Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts in November.”


January 3, 2024 | New York Times 

If an owner comes in and says, ‘We’re a family,’ you aren’t really going to buy that,” said Zev Anderman, a Hex & Co. worker. “That’s them trying to play nice so they don’t have to pay you more. But [in the union], I think we are a family.”


January 3, 2024 | OPB 

“It was a triumphant year for workers. Part-time UPS drivers got 55% raises. Airline pilots 40%. And auto workers landed a 25% increase in pay plus additional cost of living adjustments. The wins were widespread, from Hollywood actors to nurses.” 


January 2, 2024 | Publishers Weekly 

“On December 22, unionized employees at the Barnes & Noble flagship store in Manhattan's Union Square staged a walkout over concerns about management's alleged refusal to bargain in good faith with their recently formed union.”


Workplace Safety 

January 1, 2024 | St. Louis / Southern Illinois Labor Tribune 

From United Steelworkers President David McCall: “The USW is among many unions and pro-worker groups supporting the walkaround rule. The proposal also has the support of leading members of Congress and of Jordan Barab, a former deputy assistant secretary at OSHA, who wrote that the rule would “help workers come home alive at the end of the day.””


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