News

A committed labor, civil rights and community activist, Yvonne Wheeler has spent her life championing the rights of working people.

The day after he was released from a hospital, a bruised and swollen Kelvin Chung told a state Senate committee that state employees like him need collective bargaining rights to advocate for safety on the job. “I want you to see my face. We need a voice on the job, so this doesn't happen again to anyone else,” said Chung, a corrections officer.

Oregon AFSCME is excited to announce a new way AFSCME represented members and leaders can connect with and engage in our Union.  As more and more members get active in their local union, we want to add a new and efficient way for members to easily get questions answered and concerns responded to; while also providing additional support to member leaders.  For this reason, we are bringing a new resource to our Council, the AFSCME Council 75 SMART CENTER which stands for Steward, Member, Assistance, Representation, and Training Center.

Workers Memorial Day is this Sunday, April 28, when we honor workers killed or injured on the job. On this day in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed.

For almost half a century, OSHA has been charged with helping to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for men and women across this country. But under the Trump administration, OSHA is failing us. As we observe Workers Memorial Day, it’s clear that we can do more – much more – for worker safety.

All-knowing sources of information. Tour guides to the highways and byways of history. The friendly voice of a morning story time. If that’s all you think of when you think of your library staff, you’d do well to meet some of AFSCME’s library workers, whose reach goes far beyond their libraries’ walls.

Today is National Library Workers Day, when we honor those professionals who keep our libraries running: librarians, technicians and other staff, including custodians, security and maintenance workers.

Fifty-one years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis to help rally the community around 1,300 AFSCME sanitation workers who had gone on strike.

In the 1980s, I was living and going to school in Minnesota when women who worked for state government won a big victory. They got the state to increase the pay of women in “female dominated jobs” by passing a pay equity bill. In other words, they put a dent in the gender pay gap. As a student, I researched and wrote about the process of crafting, passing and implementing that legislation. And I learned something that I have never forgotten: the union made it happen. And not just any union. Our union: AFSCME. 

Our union gained more than 9,000 dues-paying members and nearly 19,000 dues-paying retirees in the last year, suggesting that billionaires and corporations are failing in their effort to “defund and defang” public service unions.

The 80th legislative session kicks off today and provides us both opportunities and challenges.  We have the chance to pass significant legislation to improve our working conditions.  However, we also have to be vigilant and fight proposed changes to Oregon law that may hurt us or make our jobs more challenging.