April 2, 2010 Volume 111 Number 7
Federal judge to hear challenge to Oregon’s Worker Freedom Act
U.S. District Court judge Michael Mosman will hear from both sides April 9 in a business group lawsuit that seeks to strike down worker freedom of conscience legislation passed by the Oregon Legislature. The Worker Freedom Act, which took effect Jan. 1, makes it illegal for Oregon employers to punish workers for refusing to take part in mandatory workplace meetings in which employers discourage unionization.
Unions protest Postal Service plan to eliminate Saturday mail service
Postmaster General John Potter’s proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery would be the most radical change to postal operations in the 230-year history of the U.S. Mail, says Jim Cook, president of the Portland-based National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 82.
Congress passes massive health insurance reform
On March 25, health insurance reform legislation passed — after a year of debate, multiple versions, hundreds of town halls and months of procedural hurdles. It’s a complicated law, 2,310 pages long. The core element, beginning in 2014, is a de facto requirement that uninsured adults under 65 purchase health insurance in government-regulated state-by-state exchanges, aided by subsidies, and enforced by tax penalties.
Details of BrucePac anti-union campaign come out in lawsuit
Business groups chose a union campaign at Silverton, Oregon, headquartered BrucePac as the test case in their lawsuit against a new worker freedom of conscience law in Oregon. But from a union perspective, the BrucePac campaign is a poster child for why the law is needed in the first place.
Steelworkers in McMinnville give up raise to extend contract
In what may be seen as a sign of the times, Steelworkers in McMinnville voted March 22 to give up a scheduled pay raise in order to extend their union contract by one year.
Wealthy will pay more if Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 as scheduled
Tax Day, April 15, is around the corner, and 2010 is special: It’s the year the Bush tax cuts expire. If you had a sneaking suspicion that America’s wealthiest pay a lot less than they used to, you’d be right.
More endorsements from organized labor: County, City, and governor
NW Oregon Labor Council issues endorsements for Multnomah and Washington counties. Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council backs Portland commissioners Saltzman and Fish. Oregon AFSCME endorses Kitzhaber for governor.