By GRAHAM TRAINOR, Oregon AFL-CIO president
It’s that time of year. Campaigns are at full-tilt, making their case to Oregonians. This is the part of election season that is predictable. Less so is the fact that the 2022 General Election is perhaps the most consequential for working people in recent memory. Let’s break that down.
First up, Oregon Congressional races. While many attempt to convey dysfunction and dismay about Washington D.C., the progress working Americans have made since January 2021 is nothing short of incredible and historic. With the most pro-union administration in American history and pro-worker majorities in both chambers of Congress, the labor movement has seen some extraordinary wins. Whether it was the American Rescue Plan which delivered immediate relief to working people and the economy while rescuing the hard-earned pensions of millions of union members and retirees or the bipartisan infrastructure law that is the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century creating good union jobs throughout our state, or the more recent Inflation Reduction Act which will help lower costs for Oregon families including for prescription drugs while creating good union jobs in the clean energy economy, each of these enormous policy wins are already making a difference in the lives of working people, but cumulatively are truly transformational.
Without Senator Wyden as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a strong, pro-union majority in the U.S. House, none of these economic packages would’ve been possible. In order to continue to push Congress to rewrite our nation’s labor laws and pass other key labor priorities, Oregon’s three competitive U.S. House races are a big part of how to maintain that pro-union majority. Val Hoyle for CD 4, Jamie Mcleod-Skinner for CD 5, and Andrea Salinas for CD 6 have all either been a union member themselves or have worked for a union, and all three have overwhelming support from Oregon Labor for their races.
Now, let’s look at the Oregon Governor’s race, which I wrote about in detail last month. Here’s the deal. There is not only just a single pro-union champion in this race in Tina Kotek, someone who has been at more picket lines and union rallies than the last five Oregon governors combined. But former State Senator Betsy Johnson has no chance in winning with her polls tanking by the day. This leaves a clear choice about Oregon’s next governor, and an even clearer choice for Oregon labor. Don’t be fooled by the billionaire-funded spoiler candidate, Oregon workers are smarter than she thinks we are. And any vote for Betsy Johnson is a vote for anti-union Christine Drazan.
Finally, another key ingredient for continuing to make gains for workers in this state also requires strong, pro-union majorities in the Oregon Legislature. Without these majorities in recent years, Oregon labor would’ve never passed the minimum wage increase, paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, expanded collective bargaining and organizing rights, and the list goes on.
Go to oraflcio.org/endorsements to find all of Oregon labor’s endorsements for the November election. By voting labor from top to bottom of your ballot, we can ensure a future with continued progress in our fights to make the economy more fair and just. Because the stakes are really that high this year and the road to continued progress for workers runs right through our beautiful state.
The Oregon AFL-CIO is a federation of labor unions.