There can be no doubt that workers' rights are under attack, and we must strengthen and protect the rights of workers to organize and to collectively bargain. I have consistently fought alongside workers, and I have stood on the right side of history and the picket line. The reality is, though, it is not enough to be pro-worker and pro-union.
Only 10.7% of Americans are members of labor unions, fewer than at any time since the government began tracking membership. At the same time, wages are stagnant, health care costs continue to rise, families cannot afford child care, and retirement is unattainable for many.
We need to face the fact that we are no longer in the golden age of labor organizing. While we work to protect and expand unions, we must also build and support new coalitions, and elect candidates that understand the intersections of race, class, gender, immigration, and power. That is how we will win pro-worker policies in the 21st Century.
That's why, in 2014, I joined with over twenty Oregon labor unions, community groups, and racial justice organizations to establish the Oregon Fair Shot Coalition. We came together with a clear recognition that our economy is broken, and that the status quo simply doesn't work for many of us: women, people of color, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, refugees, and working families.
Our efforts led to legislative wins that we could not achieve alone:
- Expanding access to paid sick days;
- Establishing a secure way to save for retirement;
- Banning the box to create job opportunities for people with prior convictions and arrests;
- Banning law enforcement profiling based on race, gender and gender identity, housing status, mental health status and ability, country of origin, and religion;
- Raising the minimum wage; and
- Universal health care coverage for all children.
We need candidates who understand the world as it is today, and have fought in the trenches and built the relationships necessary to fashion workable solutions. This is the lens I will bring to the Oregon Senate, and the experience I have to move Oregon forward, so that all people have a fair chance to reach their dreams.
My priorities for Oregon workers include:
- Ensuring access to affordable child care for families, and fair wages and benefits for child care workers
- Passing and implementing a system of paid family leave, so that workers won't have to fear losing their jobs or wages to take care of those they love
- Guaranteeing universal health care as a human right through a single payer system