Yesterday, two major proposals that would have rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s progress in expanding coverage were defeated by bipartisan majorities. Senate leadership is now pulling together a so-called “skinny” bill, which they hope will attract the 50 votes needed to pass the chamber and move to a conference committee with the House.
President Han Sang-gyun of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has spent his life fighting for the rights of workers and has paid a high price. Han has been in jail since December 2015, serving a three-year sentence for defending trade union rights and fighting back against corporate corruption and the repressive government of former President Park Geun-hye. For his perseverance in the face of anti-democratic repression, the AFL-CIO Executive Council this week honored President Han with the AFL-CIO’s annual George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, and joined the global labor movement in calling for his release.
In our fragmented workplaces with perma-temps, contracted workers, agency employees and subcontracting, we must be vigilant so every worker is protected and paid fairly, and that goes double when it comes to protecting the freedom to stand in unity for better pay and working conditions.
The 2017 Oregon Legislature began with a simple math problem: Subtracting expenses from revenue equaled a $1.8 billion deficit. After the defeat of Measure 97 last November, Oregon’s business community promised to work with the governor and legislative leadership to find new revenue. Oregon already has one of the lowest overall tax rates on corporations in America. Yes, lower than Mississippi, Idaho and Alabama. Corporations in Oregon are not paying their fair share.
The linchpins to these discussions were cuts to Public Employees Retirement System benefits and a tightening of state spending. Public employee unions activated their members, explained the issue and challenges, and worked hard to find resolutions. At every turn, Oregon’s business community refused to sit down and find a solution. In the end, there were no major cuts to PERS benefits, but also no new revenue or corporate tax increases.