By Tom Chamberlain, Oregon AFL-CIO president
As the outcomes of the 2016 General Election sink in, one thing is certain: Union members and working people have stepped up to the plate in a tremendous way over the past few months. The efforts by unions across Oregon in mobilizing members to vote for candidates and issues who support us cannot be ignored. I’m grateful for everything you did, and everything we accomplished together since Labor Day.
Thank you to each volunteer who knocked on doors, made phone calls, passed out fliers, and helped with every component of the Oregon AFL-CIO’s Labor 2016 program.
Looking at the numbers, it’s staggering: Together we knocked on over 100,000 doors, made over 260,000 phone calls, sent almost 650,000 pieces of mail, and handed out over 2,800 fliers at worksites. Volunteers from over 30 different unions filled more than 1,000 shifts.
Our efforts included canvasses and phone banks in the Portland metropolitan area, Bend, Salem, Woodburn, Medford, Ashland, Eugene, Albany and more. We saw results from all our efforts with some important victories for our endorsed statewide and legislative candidates.
The election of Gov. Kate Brown will push our state forward for working people. Gov. Brown has a long history of advocacy, and I know she will continue to stand up for workers and our unions in the coming years.
I’m disappointed that Brad Avakian will not move on to Secretary of State, but I know that he will continue to be a strong voice for workers as labor commissioner. Working people will continue to make sure all our voices, not just those of large corporations, are heard in Oregon’s elections.
While Measure 97 was defeated, we changed the debate about the massive gap between where we are and what we need to fund education, health care and senior services in Oregon. To close that gap, we can no longer afford to be 50th in the nation in corporate taxes. We have started a conversation that will not be ignored.
Our efforts on behalf of union-endorsed candidates in our State Legislature have shown us that in communities across Oregon, working people are eager to support leaders who stand up for our issues and our priorities. We look forward to a productive 2017 legislative session and more opportunities to advance an agenda designed to give all Oregonians a fair shot at prosperity.
I’m grateful for the volunteers across Oregon who made our wins possible. We could not have done this without union members standing together to fight for what we believe in. I look forward to what Oregon’s union movement will accomplish next.