Labor gathers at the Coast

This week, as much of our state's labor movement gathers for the 2008 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention, the president - Tom Chamberlain - is blogging all about it.

Why should the rest of us care?

Why does this matter to Oregon as a whole? In the past few years, Oregon’s union members -- our teachers, nurses, fire fighters, steelworkers and more -- have been among the most politically active in the nation. By knocking on tens of thousands of doors and talking to their co-workers each election cycle, they’ve convinced their co-workers and family members to make their voices heard.

In November 2006, when we cross-referenced the Oregon Secretary of State’s official voting results with our own union membership lists, we found that union members and the other registered voters in union households voted at a rate about 13% higher than the general electorate.

And when union members act on the resolutions they pass at Conventions like the one being held in Seaside, they make Oregon’s workplaces and communities stronger for all working families -- not just their own. Two examples:

They led the charge to raise the state’s minimum wage to among the highest in the nation -- twice, in 1996 and in 2002.

For years, they have supported legislation to bring renewable energy and good jobs to Oregon, restore much-needed funds to our local public schools, put more public safety officers in our communities and create a rainy day fund – and then, in 2006, they helped elect the decision-makers who would pass these reforms in the most worker-friendly Legislative Session in decades.

Visit Tom Chamberlain's blog to learn about the visits of presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards - as well as everything else that's happening in the house of labor.

Discuss over there.


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