As we enter the final 2 months of the legislative session, a number of key priority bills that directly impact SEIU members are moving through the legislature. Our political program remains focused on winning funding at the legislature to set us up for strong contracts this summer, and protecting workers’ rights and benefits.
Reminder: Our signature event of the legislative session, the Rally for Revenue and a Fair Contract, is fast approaching! Please join thousands of members and allies at the Capitol on Monday, May 20th to show your support for funding strong contracts for members. Transportation is available from across the state. Register today!
Here are updates on some of our top priorities at the Capitol:
Revenue to fund a strong contract
Members from every part of Oregon have flagged that our next contract needs to include better wages and benefits. That’s why our main legislative priority is raising at least $2 billion in additional revenue — a key step toward funding the economics in our contract. The bill passed its first major hurdle when it was approved by the House on May 1. HB 3427 would dedicate $2 billion in additional funding to education and relieve the pressure on other agency budgets, putting our members in a better place to bargain for strong contracts this summer. HB 3427 now advances to the Senate for consideration and, if passed, to Governor Kate Brown to become law.
State Agencies and Higher Education
HB 2016 (Public Worker Protection Act): Our right to be a member of a union and be free from harassment from third parties is extremely important. That’s why our union is a strong supporter of HB 2016, which codifies best practices in labor management. It dedicates time for workers to receive representation from their union, and it improves communications channels while protecting workers from harassment by anti-union organizations like the Freedom Foundation. The bill passed out of the House, had its first public hearing in the Senate, and is awaiting a vote in the Senate Workforce committee.
HB 3075 (Double Coverage): Our bill to protect double coverage is in the House Rules committee, which reached agreement on amendments, and the bill should move early this month.
Child Welfare: After years of concerns raised by members about the impact of underfunding DHS on the safety of children in our foster system were ignored, a recent lawsuit on behalf of children in the foster system has brought much-needed attention to finally address Oregon’s child welfare crisis. Our members are leading the charge to fully fund child welfare in 2019.
SB 669 (private home care reform): This bill, the top priority in the Care Agenda, would create universal standards for public and private homecare providers rather than the existing dual system that leaves private healthcare consumers and workers vulnerable. We must lift up private agency workers, because many of our members do that work, and because if we don’t, the low standards in private agencies will pull us backward. We continue to work with key stakeholders on amendments that will ensure the passage of the bill.
SB 725 (background check weighted test modifications): We anticipate that the House will vote on the measure this month and then it will head to the Governor’s desk for signature.