Published: March 8, 2024

Oregon’s 2024 legislative session was a “short session” where legislators only consider a few key policy bills while “long sessions” held in odd-numbered years allow more time to hear big pieces of legislation. That didn’t stop us from trying to pass three important bills for SEIU 503 members – and they all passed!  

Homecare members after a successful lobby day 

HB 4129 (Homecare Modernization Act) will help better connect providers with consumers and finally fix HR issues like late or partial pay that have been plaguing homecare workers for years. This bill was the top priority for our union, and the anti-worker Freedom Foundation re-appeared at the legislature trying to kill the bill. This was a tough fight and a massive win for homecare workers and the people they care for. 

OSH members testifying in support of HB 4045 

HB 4045 (Public Safety Workforce Stabilization Act of 2024) will support our dedicated members at the Oregon State Hospital who put their personal safety on the line every day to give their patients the care and support they need to get better. A new “High Risk, High Stress” retirement option will give these members the recognition they deserve for their years of service to our State. The bill passed both the House and the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote. This is a historic win nearly twenty years in the making for Oregon State Hospital workers providing 24/7 psychiatric and nursing care to patients. 

SEIU 503 homecare member John Salazar testifying on SB 1595 

SB 1595 (Family Financial Protection Act) will help give Oregonians more fairness in debt collections by updating our laws to ensure folks can get back on their feet. Workers in our union have been garnished to the point of bankruptcy due to medical debts and even had their bank account wiped out from an illegitimate collection. This law will increase protections to keep folks in housing and food on the table. The bill will also hold bad actors accountable when they try to collect a debt that someone doesn’t even owe. 

We also secured key budget investments. The Legislature invested the resources our state workers needed to get their next COLA in January of 2025, instead of February. ODOT will receive a $19 million investment to help prevent further cuts and ensure our dedicated members have the resources they need to keep our roads safe this year. And ODHS will get critical resources to continue to serve the most vulnerable Oregonians, including a $25 million investment in Child Welfare to help prevent temporary lodging.  

These wins would not have been possible without SEIU 503 members taking the time to come to the Capitol to testify or attend lobby day, submit written testimony, call or email their legislators, and encourage others to do the same. We are a member-led union representing 72,000 Oregon workers, and we showed our power this session.  

We need to celebrate these major victories and look forward to the 2024 election. From the city council to the President of the United States and 3 open Oregon statewide offices, there is a lot on the line for SEIU 503 members. We would not have won recent strong contracts for public employees, homecare workers, higher education workers, and more or seen these wins at the legislature without helping elect candidates who support working people. Let’s keep the momentum up by donating to CAPE, our political action committee. Members like you giving $8 or $10 a month adds up and, together, we can compete against billionaires and giant corporations – and win!