Published: July 24, 2017

SEIU 503 Praises Aspects Of Final Transportation Package; Calls On GOP Legislators to Have The Same Respect For The Process On Healthcare

SALEM, OR — In a meeting on July 15, SEIU 503’s Board of Directors praised aspects of the final transportation package and overwhelmingly voted that it would not support referring the bill to the ballot. SEIU 503 also called on Republican legislators to show a similar respect for the bipartisan process on Medicaid funding by dropping their attack on healthcare.

According to SEIU 503’s President Steve Demarest, “As we said all along, we support the transportation package. It provides much-needed investment in highway and transit infrastructure, will fuel good jobs, and was the product of a bipartisan, stakeholder process. The final product also addressed some of the concerns we and others raised about the impact of the gas and car tax components on working Oregonians.”

Though disappointed that the package taxes working people while Oregon’s tax system continues to exempt corporations from paying their fair share, SEIU 503 looks forward to the improvements this package will make in Oregon.

“The Board’s decision reflects our union’s respect for the process, the strength of the final package, and the state’s need for infrastructure investment,” said Brian Rudiger, Executive Director of SEIU 503. “While we didn’t get every change we wanted, we feel that the positive aspects of this package far outweigh the negatives, and we will respect the bipartisan process that led to the final bill.”

In addition, SEIU 503 issued a call to Republican legislators Julie Parrish, Sal Esquivel and Cedric Hayden to show a similar respect for the legislative process and drop their effort to refer Medicaid funding to the ballot.

“Like the transportation package, Medicaid funding was accomplished in a bipartisan way with input from stakeholders including hospitals, insurance companies, CCOs and healthcare advocates,” said Demarest. “Referring Medicaid funding to the ballot puts 350,000 Oregonians at risk of losing their healthcare and will result in higher premiums for hundreds of thousands more. Republican donors and leaders should show respect for the process that went into the Medicaid funding measure and drop this attack on healthcare. Additionally, like the Oregon Nurses Association, we are concerned about potential conflicts of interest between the Secretary of State and his political consultant, Rep. Parrish. We hope that if this referendum moves forward, he will be fully transparent about the process.”