Our Union's Agenda Won in the 2022 Election, But There's Still Work to Do

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Election day has come and gone – and across the country, votes are still being tallied. Election day is not “results” day, and democracy depends on taking the time to count every single vote.

In Oregon, Tina Kotek has been named as our new governor.  This was a major success for our union as she was a necessary pathway to support our legislative agenda, including a bill on staffing, that we hope to see move in the 2023 session.  

Christina Stephenson won the race for Labor Commissioner (the top seat at BOLI) She is a former civil rights attorney and working mom, and she ran on a platform championing the interests of working people. OFNHP endorsed the Stephenson campaign and turned out members to phone bank, and we are thrilled with her victory and excited to work with her in the coming years. Multiple other endorsed candidates won, helping to ensure that we have legislators on our side when we choose legal tactics. We know that the foundation of our union is in shop-floor organizing, union solidarity and direct action, but having political allies provides additional tools we can use in our strategies. 

Initiatives Endorsed by PEAC:

  • Measure 111: Right to Healthcare.

This initiative passed (though it originally was called that it did not pass) This initiative will be a starting place for an ongoing discussion on universal access to care, and while this is a setback in that effort, we won’t give up the fight. Our PEAC spoke to the press in support of the bill and will continue the fight to expand healthcare access. 

  • Measure 112: Remove Slavery and Involuntary servitude from the Oregon State constitution. 

This initiative passed, however it is worth noting that while this measure succeeded, over 40% of votes tallied were against removal of slavery from the constitution. Or put another way, 40% of voters wanted slavery to remain permitted in the constitution of our state. We will continue the fight against slavery, including that implemented in the prison-industrial complex.

  • Measure 113: Limited walkouts by elected representatives.

This initiative passed. Hannah Love, a representative for the campaign said it best on OPB, “Oregonians said resoundingly tonight that they do not want to let the gridlock of the extreme partisan walkouts hold our democracy back any longer,” Love said. ”They know that as regular people, we can’t walk off the job with zero consequences or accountability. And we’re sick of politicians who think they can play by a separate set of rules.” 

Democracy depends on informed citizens participating, or, as the old saying goes, history is made by those who show up. Thanks to those of you who attended phone banking and canvassing events. This is how we elect candidates that are supportive of both healthcare workers, and the broader interests of labor. In Oregon, Labor is the third largest voting block (after the two major parties.) We can have the power, when we step together. And when we fight, we win.

“Let’s take this partnership into 2023 by committing to a vision of Oregon that ensures healthcare, unions, and living wages for all, and that promises the voices of healthcare workers are in every conversation about the future of our state,” said Hannah Winchester, a member of PEAc, speaking at the Democratic Party of Oregon event on election night. “Our vision of progressive politics is one that is guided by our rank-and-file membership, and you can rest assured that when our members feel heard, you can feel supported. This is how we determined our slate of endorsements when we identified powerful allies that showed a commitment to working in solidarity with our members and those we serve. We are excited about this ongoing effort to fix healthcare in Oregon and while the fight is just starting, we are far from tired or through.”