Northwest Oregon Labor Council

Weekly Update: Wisconsin Wins

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What can Oregon’s union movement learn from the recall efforts in Wisconsin?

Send an email to Russell@oraflcio.org and let us know!

Working Families Win in Wisconsin

Union members, activists and an army of volunteers showed the country what democracy looks like yesterday in Wisconsin.  Two Republican state senators who backed Governor Scott Walker’s attack on public employees, Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke, were successfully recalled from office.  This narrows the Republican majority in the Wisconsin State Senate to one vote.

These two victories send a powerful message to the labor movement and provide an example of how to get out the vote.
 More than 1 million voters were contacted over the past several months by 12,000 volunteers.  Last weekend alone, 125,000 doors were knocked in recall districts.  

When Wall Street backed politicians attack workers, the labor movement responds and yesterday’s victories in Wisconsin prove it.

In Other News...

Jeld-Wen Makes A Deal, Leaves Workers Hurting

Oregon’s largest privately held company, Klamath Falls based Jeld-Wen, has made a deal with Canadian investment firm Onex Corp. which leaves Oregon workers in the dust. By handing majority stock ownership to Onex, the employees of Jeld-Wen  are leaving decisions about their livelihood to a foreign company that doesn’t know them, doesn’t know Klamath Falls, and doesn’t have a reason to care.  History shows that the further removed ownership is from workers, the worse off they fare.

Marty Demaris, President of the Southeastern Oregon Central Labor Council described the deal as “a long time coming.” Marty hopes that everything works out well during the transition, but sees Jeld-Wen rearranging debt as the motive behind the deal.

A recent article by the Oregonian explains that stock-payouts by the company were postponed, downgraded and in some cases forgotten entirely as Jeld-Wen moved closer into signing the deal with Onex. The company had offered employees the opportunity to invest in the company initially, but seem to have found a better deal with Onex.  The article portrays Jeld-Wen as being short-sighted by purchasing several corporate jets while not following through with important product lines.

Are you affected by the Jeld-Wen / Onex deal?  Tell us your story.

Verizon Workers Strike

On Sunday at midnight 45,000 Verizon employees represented by CWA and IBEW went on strike. Verizon has demanded that their workforce take $1 billion in concessions, equaling $20,000 for every family employed.  These concessions come after the company netted $19 billion in record profits during the past four years.

If you stand with Verizon’s workers, speak up and send their CEO a message.

And if you're in the Portland area tomorrow, join us at an informational rally outside of the downtown Verizon store: 616 SW Broadway, from 1:30 to 3:30pm.

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