Oregon AFSCME E-lert
Sept. 19, 2014
Edited by Don
Council 75 Communications
MEASURE 89 — On Nov. 4, Oregonians will decide the fate
of Ballot Measure 89, the Oregon
Equal Rights Amendment. Oregon AFSCME Council 75 has endorsed Measure 89 and
urges a "Yes" vote.
Measure 89 is a state
measure, not to be confused with the longstanding struggle to pass a federal
ERA. The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the U.S.
Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women. It passed both
houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the state legislatures for ratification,
with a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979. Through 1977, the amendment
received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications, but never got the final
three, despite a three-year extension.
Measure 89 is largely
patterned after the federal ERA, and simply guarantees women equal protection
under state law. Here is a quick Q & A on the measure from the proponents website.
Q. Why do we need an ERA
in the Oregon Constitution?
A. Because the Oregon Constitution was written in 1857
(ratified in 1859) and does not specifically prevent women from being
discriminated against. Even though Article I, Section 20 says, "No law shall be
passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities,
which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens," women
nevertheless couldn't vote, own property, work the same number of hours as men
and more. The same Article I, Section 20 that was originally written to provide
equality is still in the Oregon Constitution today.
Q. Do women have equality
now in Oregon?
A. Women in Oregon are protected with case law. Case
law, laws, and statutes can be overturned and interpreted by different judges
in the future. Case law has been overturned in Oregon. Women shouldn't be
vulnerable to case law, and Oregonians shouldn't want women to be reliant upon
case law for their basic equality.
Q. Do Oregonians believe
women should have their equality expressly written in the state
A. They do. Eighty-two (82) percent of Oregonians from
all geographical corners of the state, all political parties, race, gender and
all age groups support the Oregon ERA.
* * *
MEASURE 90 (TAKE 2) — Continuing with the topic of ballot
measures, in the last e-lert we
highlighted Measure 90, the
so-called "Top Two" measure. This week we have more information on who is
funding the measure, which AFSCME opposes. It turns out — no surprise
— that in addition to spending money on attack ads against Sen. Jeff
Merkley (D-Ore.), Charles and David Koch — the infamous "Koch Brothers" — have now entered the fray
on ballot measures in Oregon. Measure 90's latest campaign financial report is
out and it shows over $1 million in special interest and corporate
contributions, including money from the Kochs.
On Sept. 3, the political
action committee of Associated Oregon Industries reported receiving $10,000 from Koch Industries. On Sept. 2, the AOI PAC reported giving a
$50,000 contribution to the group working to pass Measure 90. It's likely no
coincidence those numbers line up: in the last two years, Koch Industries has
given the AOI PAC $50,000, making them AOI PAC's largest financial
Campaign reports show that
nearly all of Measure 90's supporters are wealthy CEOs, business associations
and major corporations. They have reported raising over $370,000 just since
July 25. In addition to $50,000 from AOI, the most recent contributions to
Measure 90 have been $60,000 from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and
Health Administrators, $25,000 from The
Standard, an insurance company, and
$25,000 from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association.
These Koch Brothers
contributions act as a preview of how Big Money could control our election
process under a "Top Two" system. When candidates have to raise millions of
dollars just to make it to the General Election ballot it will greatly limit
who will be able to run. A candidate won't be able to compete if they aren't
well connected to special interests with deep pockets.
* * *
REGISTER TO VOTE! — What's the best way we can fight people like
the Koch Brothers? First off, we can be sure to register and vote. Next
Tuesday, Sept. 23, is National Voter Registration Day. NVRD was first started
for the 2012 presidential election and has now become an annual holiday and
celebration where thousands of people ensure our family, friends and neighbors are
registered to vote. In Oregon, you can register to vote if you are 17 years old
(though you won't receive a ballot unless you'll be 18 by election day). You
must also re-register if you've moved or had a name change.
Most post offices have voter registration cards; all county
clerk's offices have them. AFSCME offices have them as well. Incidentally,
while Sept. 23 is National Voter Registration Day, that's not the registration
deadline. In Oregon, you have until Oct. 14 to register, which you can also do online.
* * *
CANVASS TIME — After
registering and voting, the other way that AFSCME members can fight the likes
of the Koch Brothers is by canvassing
and phone-banking. The AFSCME "Green Machine"
excels at grassroots political organizing. Last Saturday (Sept. 13) we had a
great turnout in Salem with 15 volunteers knocking on doors for Senate
President Peter Courtney. Local
2067 (City of Salem) was especially well-represented, with several members
generously spending their Saturday out in the
90-degree weather. Collectively, AFSCME volunteers knocked on over 500 doors
for Courtney, speaking to hundreds of people who overwhelmingly supported
Courtney. That same day in Washington County, we had six walkers for Susan
McLain, the former Metro Councilor
running for House District 29. It was also
very hot there.
are some upcoming events:
Monday, Sept. 22 — Phone-banking out of the Portland office for state
Rep. Shemia Fagan (House Dist.
51), 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 23 — Phone-banking out
of the Oregon AFL-CIO office, 3645 SE 32nd Ave., Portland, 5:30 – 8 p.m.,
calling AFL households.
Wednesday, Sept. 24 — Phone-banking out of the Portland office for Susan
McLain (House Dist. 29), 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 25 — Phone-banking out of the Portland office for Susan
– 8 p.m. The contact for Portland-area phone-banking is John
McGovern, e-mail or (503) 239-9858.
Saturday, Sept. 27 — Canvass in Hillsboro for
state Rep. Joe Gallegos (House Dist. 30). Gallegos is running for
re-election for the first time and had a 100 percent AFSCME voting record last
session. Meet at 10 a.m. at 159 SE 2nd St. in Hillsboro. Contact Eva
Rippeteau, e-mail or (503) 2239-9858.
Sept. 27 — Canvass in Salem
for state Rep. Betty Komp (House
Dist. 22); her district covers North Salem and Woodburn. Komp is a member of
the Joint Ways and Means Committee and active in securing protections for Local
1246 (Stabilization and Crisis Unit) members. Contact Dinah Foley, e-mail or
Saturday, Oct. 4 — Canvass in Columbia County for Henry Heimuller, currently an incumbent Columbia County
Commissioner. His opponent, Wayne Mayo, is a contractor and extreme right wing local character who has spent
years promoting his own ballot measures and campaigning on an anti-public
employee platform. Contact Andy
Chavira, e-mail or (503) 239-9858.
Saturday, Oct. 4 — Canvass in Polk County for Danny
Jaffer, candidate for Polk County
Commission. Jaffer is a moderate Democrat who would flip the commission to a
pro-worker majority. His opponent has come to our membership and blatantly
stated, "I don't believe unions should exist." Contact Joseph
West, e-mail or (503) 370-2522.
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