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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: June 13, 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.



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Upcoming Actions and Events

Oregon Nurses Association Plans 3-Day Strike at Six Providence Hospital Locations

June 18-20, 2024 | Six Providence Hospitals in Oregon

Oregon Nurses Association members across the state are demanding Providence give them a fair contract that is in compliance with Oregon’s Safe Staffing law and prioritizes affordable, quality healthcare. Nurses are also demanding that Providence executives increase their focus on recruiting, retaining, and respecting frontline nurses. For a strike map, times, and more go to: https://www.oraflcio.org/strikemap.


Labor Education Resource Center Summer School

Friday July 19-21, 2024 | University of Oregon Campus in Eugene

We are excited to be back together for this year’s Summer School, sponsored by the AFL-CIO and the Labor Education and Research Center, hosted on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene on July 19-21, 2024. Whether you are a new member or experienced leader, Summer School has something for you. Join us for a weekend of education, discussion and socializing with 100+ other union members from across the state. To register and learn more go to: https://lerc.uoregon.edu/ss24/.


Take Action Today

There is a care crisis in nursing homes in the United States. Widespread understaffing, low pay and few benefits have led to burn out or injury for many workers. Corporate profits are up—but vulnerable nursing home residents are receiving worse and worse care. President Biden fulfilled his promise in April to establish national minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes. Thousands of you submitted stories, letters and comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help make this landmark rule a reality. But the for-profit nursing home industry has convinced its allies in Congress to hold votes that would not only kill the rule, but also ensure that HHS can’t release staffing rules to improve nursing home care in the future.

This week, executives from nursing homes around the country are traveling to lobby Congress in an attempt to get rid of the staffing standards. We need your help to make sure the voices of workers and residents, and their families, are heard. 


Must Read 

June 9, 2024 | Jacobin

“LGBTQ advocacy and leadership appear central to a new generation of labor militants. Take for example the Starbucks workers who have voted to unionize over 350 cafes. Reflecting on these efforts, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ (AFL-CIO) Pride at Work executive director Jerame Davis remarked that the union drive was “one of the queerest union campaigns I’ve ever seen.” In June of that year, over three thousand Starbucks Workers United members struck against the company’s decision to prohibit in-store Pride decorations, a policy that some perceived as capitulating to rising anti-LGBTQ sentiment. Beyond Starbucks, Pride at Work has received an influx of requests from labor leaders seeking advice on queer-inclusive contract provisions. Among international unions, the United Auto Workers (UAW) recently created an LGBTQ caucus, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have agitated for trans teachers’ and students’ rights.”


Oregon Labor

June 7, 2024 | KATU

“More than 3,000 nurses across six Providence hospitals in Oregon plan to strike for three days this month, the union representing them announced Friday. The Oregon Nurses Association called it the largest strike in the state’s history. Nurses will walk the picket lines starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday, June 18. The union said there were negotiations with Providence this week, but the two sides failed to come to an agreement.“


June 7, 2024 | Willamette Week

“The leader of one of the nine unions representing workers at Oregon Health & Science University chided the academic medical center for warning of layoffs just months after president Danny Jacobs got a bump in retirement benefits and non-union staff took home bonuses untethered to performance. “It’s outrageous and immoral that OHSU is, on one hand, planning to lay off 500 hard-working people and reduce patient care, while writing checks” to executives and boosting Jacobs’ retirement pay, Jennie Olson, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 328, said in a statement. “OHSU needs to prioritize patients and people instead of lining the pockets of people in ivory towers.”


June 7, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Oregon labor organizations saw mostly wins among endorsed political campaigns in the May 21 primary, and a decent number of candidates had some union background themselves. Of the 59 candidates endorsed by the Oregon AFL-CIO, 25 were current or former union members or staff. High points on election night were contested Democratic primaries in state house districts where the Democrat is likely to win in November. Public defender and former AFSCME member Willy Chotzen got 73% in his race in House District 46 in Southeast Portland. And Eugene teachers union member Lisa Fragala got 72% in her race to be Representative for House District 8, replacing longtime labor legislator Paul Holvey, who retired.”


June 7, 2024 | Northwest Labor Press

“Once union members give up their pension, they rarely ever get it back. But at Northwest Natural, in union contract negotiations that were backed by the credible threat of a strike, that’s what just happened. In a multi-day vote that ended May 19, members ratified a new collective bargaining agreement between Northwest Natural and OPEIU Local 11 at about a nine-to-one margin. The agreement raises wages 24% over four years (with compounding) — a 6% raise June 1 and four 4% raises each Dec. 1. Some workers who were deemed under-market for their job class will raises of up to 32%. (The contract lists about 70 different jobs that fall into one of about dozen pay scales, and as of June 1, wages range from $20.82 to $57 an hour.)”


June 7, 2024 | KLCC

“The Oregon Nurses Association is accusing PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Springfield of breaking the state’s safe staffing law. In Oregon, a hospital’s staffing plan must be approved by a committee which is made up equally of management and frontline workers. However, nurses claim PeaceHealth went over their heads last week, imposing a plan without a vote. Chris Rompala is a nurse at RiverBend. He said PeaceHealth has assigned nursing assistants to tasks rather than patients, meaning less collaboration and larger workloads for nurses.”


June 6, 2024 | KATU 

“The Oregon Health Authority is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the new law and investigating any allegations of violations. The state agency said since the law was passed it has received hundreds of complaints, many of which have come in since the new staffing plans went into effect June 1.“


June 6, 2024 | OPB

“Negotiations have yet to begin but Portland State University’s largest faculty union is readying for a long and hard fight with university administration over its next labor contract. About 100 people attended PSU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors bargaining kickoff rally in downtown Portland’s Park Blocks Wednesday afternoon. AAUP represents over 1,100 faculty, staff and researchers at Portland State. Union members wore red and white AAUP shirts and held signs with slogans like “cutting programs means cutting people” and “working conditions create learning conditions.” The group then marched through Portland State’s downtown campus to the Richard & Maurine Neuberger Center, a key PSU administration building that houses the president’s office.”


June 6, 2024 | KGW 

“Nurses at six Providence hospitals have given negotiators the power to authorize a 10-day strike notice if discussions on a new contract with the health care provider fall apart. Thousands of nurses at Providence's St. Vincent, Newberg, Hood River, Medford, Willamette Falls and Milwaukie hospitals are asking for more competitive pay, a better nurse-to-patient ratio and better health benefits.“


June 6, 2024 | Oregon AFSCME 

“Community members and City of Canby staff gathered at the Canby City Council meeting, on Wednesday, June 5th at 7 pm to demand accountability from the City Council after an HR investigation found Councilor Sasse in violation of the City’s sexual harassment policy in April of this year. Despite the findings, no action has been taken by the City Council to address this serious breach of conduct.“


Politics

June 10, 2024 | Labor Tribune

“The Illinois General Assembly wrapped up the 2024 spring session on Wednesday, May 29, sending many pro-worker bills to the Governor’s desk. Among the biggest victories of the session: ‘CAPTIVE AUDIENCE’ MEETINGS” The Illinois Worker Freedom of Speech Act passed the General Assembly on a bipartisan roll call. SB 3649 protects employees if they opt out of employer-sponsored meetings on religious or political matters, including union organizing. Captive audience meetings are one of the most powerful union-busting tools in employers’ toolkit. This legislation carried by Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) and Leader Marcus C. Evans Jr. (D-Chicago) gives employees protection if they choose to disengage.”


June 5, 2024 | In These Times

“More than a decade in the making, S.B. 256 essentially requires unions to have a lot of dues-paying members while simultaneously making it harder for them to do so. While the law bans public sector unions from deducting dues directly from members’ paychecks, it also requires at least 60% of a bargaining unit to pay dues or risk losing their union status. Shortly after signing the bill, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis framed it in a statement as an effort to “reign in out-of-control unions” that he said take money away from teachers and misuse government funds for political aims. In the same announcement, he specifically mentioned teachers unions, many of which were already required to maintain at least 50% membership under a law approved by then Gov. Rick Scott in 2018.” 


June 3, 2024 | Business Insider

“It's the DOL's latest attempt at promoting the idea of "good jobs," and making them more widespread. Part of Su's guiding edicts is to fill the economy with jobs that provide workers security, stability, good pay, and benefits. The Good Jobs Principles framework outlines eight hallmarks of what makes a job good quality; that includes hiring and recruitment from underrepresented backgrounds and doing away with unnecessary educational or credential requirements — a major barrier for many workers. It also includes better pay, benefits, job security, and access.”


Union Leadership

June 9, 2024 | Los Angeles Times

“Fran Drescher may have been “The Nanny” in another life. But as the president of SAG-AFTRA, she turned the tables on Hollywood’s power crowd. Drescher last year emerged as an unlikely labor leader and champion of the little guy. Best known for her zany 1990s sitcom character with the thick Queens, N.Y., accent, Drescher became one of the most powerful people in Los Angeles by holding firm, despite pressure and personal attacks, until her 160,000-member performers union won its most generous deal in decades. The contract brought an estimated $1 billion in gains for members over three years.”

June 6, 2024 | The Detroit News

“Shawn has been so powerful with his narrative," AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said. "The way he messaged through the strike really galvanized public support. It really gave inspiration to a lot of others.”


Income Disparity

June 7, 2024 | New York Times

“The annual tallies of chief executive pay for 2023 have arrived and they are fascinating and irritating, in equal measure. There is already so much evidence that C.E.O.s are earning a ton of money — while most employees are not — that these annual revelations can’t be called shocking news. But this year, there’s a new wrinkle: Companies must disclose how much C.E.O. stock holdings increase when the market rises. By that measure, too, chief executives are amassing extraordinary wealth.vFrom any angle, the specifics are eye-popping."


Collective Bargaining

June 8, 2024 | Hoodline

In a significant step for labor rights in Georgia, more than 1,500 workers at Fort Valley-based Blue Bird, a manufacturer of electric school buses, ratified their first union contract last month. This move comes after a vote last year where employees of the established company chose to become part of the United Steel Workers, marking a crucial victory for the labor movement in the southern state, as reported by WABE."

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