2022 Legislative Session Priorities

Provide Essential Worker Pay for Low-Wage Workers:
The Essential Worker Pay Bill provides a one-time payment for people who were in high-risk jobs from April 2020 to December 2020 who are below a certain wage threshold. 

These one-time payments will honor workers for their service and provide a little bit of help during this difficult time. This is a step in improving workforce issues but far from the end. We are also fighting for a massive investment to help retention and recruitment. It won’t happen this legislative session but we’ve already started laying the groundwork. 

Establish Statewide Labor Harmony Agreements for Behavioral Health:
Oregon AFSCME is calling for labor harmony agreements for all State government behavioral health contracts for treatment and services to stop the kind of union-busting and intimidation tactics funded by public dollars we saw recently in Portland. We pushed for and passed a labor harmony agreement that covers Multnomah County that says employers cannot interfere in organizing campaigns and both sides agree to move forward together during campaigns so that clients are not affected. Now we are fighting for the same protections statewide so that behavioral health work employees have full freedom to organize and client services aren’t disrupted by anti-union tactics. 

Child Care Investment Act:
Every child care provider should be paid in a way that reflects the essential work they do. Every Oregon family deserves access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally relevant child care. And it shouldn’t fall on providers or parents to foot the bill for an inadequate system. That’s why we are leading supporters of the Child Care Investment Act to increase state payments to providers and fund grants to help them expand their programs and serve more families. This will help bring more child care into the system and help our member providers keep their programs open. 

Address the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) Staffing Crisis:
Allocates more money to hire OSH staff to improve patient care, reduce violence against staffers and make OSH a place where people can safely work and recover.