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The e-lert is published periodically and sent directly only to those who request to receive it. A typical e-lert includes mostly legislative and political updates, with an occasional Council 75 or other labor-related anecdote. Click here if you would like to be added to the e-lert direct distribution list.

E-lert for Sept. 19
Sep 23, 2014
Oregon AFSCME E-lert

Oregon AFSCME E-lert

Sept. 19, 2014


Edited by Don Loving,

Council 75 Communications Director



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 constitution? 


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.


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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 contributors.


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.


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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.


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CANVASS TIMEAfter 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.


Here 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 McLain, 5:30 – 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.


Saturday, 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 (503) 370-2522. 


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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Page Last Updated: Sep 23, 2014 (15:50:59)

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