Article XI. Labor and Workers’ Rights — Platform of the Multnomah County Democratic Party

PREAMBLE

All people have the right to organize to address common needs and interests in their work environment. The best means of growing the middle class is to invest in its people via the promotion of living wage jobs and businesses that support families and the community. We recognize that the work unions do increases wages and benefits for everyone and helps win concrete improvements in people’s lives.

PLANKS

  1. We support independent workers, unions, and local small business.
  2. We support the creation and funding of safety net programs, including worker retraining programs.
  3. We believe in collective bargaining and the right to organize. We defend the rights of workers to representation and self-representation through voluntary association. We support union contracts, union activities, and union organizations.
  4. We recognize the contract that state and local entities made with public employees and support the funding and benefits of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) at the pre-2003 levels. We condemn any attempts to cut public employee benefits.
  5. We support legislation repealing all right to work laws while protecting collective bargaining and the right to organize without fear of reprisal, intimidation, termination, or discrimination.
  6. We understand technology development and transition from a fossil fuel-based economy may cause some jobs to become obsolete. Recognizing that workers will be displaced, business and industry must provide job retraining and job replacement at a comparable or higher wage for those jobs being replaced.
  7. We recognize that all workers are entitled to participate in a fully funded pension program, in addition to Social Security.
  8. We believe employees must be paid livable wages or higher.
  9. We believe accrued paid-time off and vacation for terminated employees must be paid.
  10. We recognize the value of uncompensated housework and believe that those workers should be allowed to reap the same benefits, such as Social Security, as other workers.
  11. We believe that independent contractors are entitled to the same rights as employees, such as healthcare, a living wage, with dignity and respect; are subject to employee restrictions at company discretion that is in accordance with labor and worker rights.
  12. We support applying prevailing wages to all projects with private contracts using public funds

LEGISLATIVE ACTION ITEMS

  1. We call for full funding and benefits of PERS at pre-2003 benefits levels.
  2. We call on the legislature to investigate the occurrence of wage theft, in all its forms, in the State and to enact legislation to end instances of wage theft.
  3. We support legislation requiring retraining of displaced workers. We call for state and federal legislation to provide transition plans as technology and innovation change the workplace.
  4. We call for the decriminalization of paid sexual acts between consenting adults and legislation allowing sex workers to organize.
  5. We call on Multnomah County and all cities that contract with any private company to require living or prevailing wages, whichever is higher, and benefits to their employees and subcontractors.
  6. We demand that Multnomah County, all cities and school districts, including private schools accepting public tax money, within the county contract with local businesses and require living wages or prevailing wages (whichever is higher) and benefits in the contracts for all workers.
  7. We call for the repeal Taft-Hartley Act, the “hot cargo” provision of the Landrum-Griffin Act, and all so-called “Right to Work” laws, which greatly restricts the activities and power of labor unions.[1]
  8. We oppose all legislation that diminishes workers’ rights to organize.
  9. We call for legislation to overturn the Janus decision, which eliminated fair-share payments for non-union members to the bargaining unit.[2]
  10. We call for legislation requiring funding for BOLI to enforce wage requirements for all workers, including those who are undocumented, and to assess the effect of non-compliance on the wages of American workers.
  11. We call for the advancement and improved enforcement of protections afforded to workers against retaliation for organizing actions, above and beyond, existing NLRA protections.
  12. We call for the creation and continued development of worker and community-owned businesses through training programs and tax incentives for both businesses and individual worker-owners.

[1] A “Hot Cargo” clause typically stipulates that an employer will commit in advance ot boycott any other employer involved in a dispute with the union, including not handling or using goods which are not union made or which are manufactured by a company considered to be unfair by the union.  https://www.nlrb.gov/about-nlrb/who-we-are/our-history/1959-landrum-griffin-act

[2] Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council. 535 U.S. __ (2018). https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1466_2b3j.pdf