The first 1,000 signatures have been submitted on a “right-to-work” initiative for the November 2014 ballot.
The initiative, dubbed the Public Employee Choice Act, would remove any requirement that public employees pay union dues or any share of the costs that unions incur to represent them. Under current law, public employees who are represented by unions pay either union dues, if they choose to be members, or reduced “fair share” fees which cover the union’s cost of negotiating contracts and representing workers in discipline cases.
The chief petitioners on the initiative are Keizer resident Braeda Libby and Beaverton attorney Jill Gibson Odell, a former legislative director for the Oregon House Republican caucus.
After the campaign turned in the initial signatures March 15, the Oregon Department of Justice issued a draft ballot title March 25. The initiative could be approved for full-scale signature gathering in as little as six weeks if the state attorney general and secretary of state determine that it meets legal standards, and if there’s no legal challenge to the language that would appear on the ballot describing the initiative.
Backers would then have until July 3, 2014, to gather 87,213 valid signatures from registered voters in order to qualify for the ballot.
On March 13, the campaign reported a $6,000 contribution from Loren Parks, a Nevada millionaire who has bankrolled many previous anti-union measures.
UPDATE, 3/27/13: Oregon AFL-CIO is already campaigning against the proposal. It’s directing members here to get educated, and it’s making available a right-to-work toolkit here that includes fliers and images, such as the one below, to post to Facebook and Twitter.