Political Action

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber helps congratulate member leader awardees, security officers John Dearborn and Linda Sporer.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber congratulates member leader awardees, Security Officers John Dearborn & Linda Sporer.

Washington Legislative Wrap Up

Challenges
Many of you may know that in January 2 Democratic Senators – Senators Rodney Tom D-Medina, Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch – switched sides and voted for a Republican-led Washington Senate. Unfortunately this move created a change in leadership that was not pro-worker.

Washington Legislation that Passed the House and Failed in the Senate

  • HB 1095 – Staffing Ratios
  • HB 1152 – Meal and Rest Breaks for Hospital Employees
  • HB 1153 – Regulating mandatory overtime of health care facilities – Closes the mandatory overtime loophole.

All three bills were designed to improve quality patient care and protect health care workers safety. Unfortunately having a senate that was not pro-worker all three bills died after passing the house.

2013-15 Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From the Washington State Budget and Policy Center

The Good

  • Washington state will take full advantage of the health reform by expanding Medicaid to an additional 250,000 people.
  • Routine dental care- such as teeth cleanings, dentures, and fillings- is restored for adults who currently receive Medicaid or will be newly eligible- an estimated 700,000 people.
  • New investments are made towards meeting our obligation to fully fund public schools and further college tuition increases are averted, at least for the next year.
  • Passing SB 5882 That creates standards for new tax breaks

The Bad

  • Cost-of-living increases for teachers are suspended for the fifth year in a row, jeopardizing our ability to attract and retain quality educators.

The Ugly

  • Lawmakers moved in the wrong direction, enacting 17 more tax breaks, costing us $15 million over the next two years.
  • The budget does not put us on a long-term path to fully funding basic education. It is expected to cost $4.5 billion by 2018 to meet our constitutional obligation to fund public schools. While a modest investment is made towards that requirement over the next two years, no additional revenue was raised to ensure we can meet our full obligations.

Oregon Legislative Wrap Up

Challenges

This year the Senate was a democratic majority by one vote; unfortunately some senators did not agree with us on issues related to public workers, tax breaks for corporations and funding for public services that Oregonians need. However, we were able to make advancements for SEIU 49 members and other workers.

Challenges on Health Care Safety for Health Care Workers

Again our efforts to improve patient and hospital worker safety were derailed by the Oregon Hospital Association.

  • SB 572 Safe Patient Handling
  • HB 3163 Health Care for Health Care workers
  • Both failed to pass the house due to strong opposition by the hospital industry.

Progress on Immigration Issues

  • HB2116 Tuition Equity Passes the House and Senate, and is signed by the governor giving in state tuition to undocumented children who graduate from an Oregon high school keeping the best and the brightest in Oregon.
  • SB 833 Drivers Licenses Restored for people who cannot produce enough documentation to show residence will now be able to get a driving license keeping our roads safe.

Port of Portland expanding Best Value Contracting

HB3343/HB2927 Allows the Port of Portland to Establish best value contracting standards for subcontracted workers including baggage handlers, ramp agents, wheel chair attendants etc.

Study on Retirement Security Moves Forward

HB3436 Creates a task force to study how the state treasurer’s office can create work with small businesses and individuals to help them plan for a secure retirement.

2013-15 Budget: The Good & the Bad

Good

  • Oregon invests secures $9 billion more dollars from the federal government to expand health care to 300,000 more Oregonians
  • Investments were made in public education to buy back some teachers and school days
  • Home Care workers should see an increase in wages
  • End to Furlough Days, plus a cost of living adjustment for state workers who have had no colas, or steps in 8 years.

The Bad

  • Corporations and the Rich still do not pay their fair share in taxes in Oregon and no tax loopholes were closed and no new taxes were implemented to fund vital services

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1. JOIN our member Political Justice Committee

  • Get insider information on candidates, campaigns & the legislative sessions
  • Help plan and implement political events
  • Join us on the 3rd Saturday of the month at the Local 49 office at 3536 SE 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97202 –
    See the calendar for details or location updates or email Felisa Hagins felisah@seiu49.org

2. Contribute to our Political Action Fund
It’s the easiest way to make a difference – Combine your money with 2.1 million other members to really make an impact! – Download the form here

3. Volunteer
on a campaign or come to an event at the capitol. There are lots of ways to get involved – Check the calendar for opportunities and action updates

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Contact Felisa Hagins, Political Director, SEIU Local 49
Phone: 503-236-4949 x215
Email: felisah@seiu49.org

 

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