I. A Public Bank for Oregon
The Oregon Working Families Party has put forward a proposal to create a state-owned bank in Oregon, modeled after the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, that would lend to farmers, small businesses, students, and homebuyers, in order to strengthen Oregon’s economy.
II. Disability Insurance for all Oregonians
The Oregon Working Families Party is calling for the creation of a statewide disability insurance program, modeled after California’s “SDI,” which would provide partial wage replacement to workers who are unable to work due to illness or off-the-job injury. Such a program would be funded by an employee payroll tax. The benefit would be available to all workers who pay into the system for at least 18 months. It would be available at a reduced benefit level to workers who pay into the system for at least six months.
III. Good Jobs for a Sustainable Economy
The Oregon Working Families Party strongly supports investment in “sustainable jobs,” which support families and communities as well as the environment. The OWFP believes that public dollars should never be used to subsidize poverty wages or to further the outsourcing of good jobs from our state. OWFP nominees should insist on the inclusion of family sustaining wages and high labor standards in any legislation that uses state funds to stimulate investment in the economy (whether that be in the form of direct investment, subsidies, tax credits, or any other fiscal mechanism).
IV. Debt Free Higher Education
While a college education every year becomes more critical to getting a good job that can sustain a family, it is also becoming increasingly unaffordable. Students have been forced to take on unconscionable debt loads in order to pay for school. Meanwhile, continued underinvestment in Oregon’s universities, colleges, and community colleges, threatens the long-term health of the State. The Oregon Working Families Party supports full funding of the Oregon Opportunity Grant program, which is designed to limit the amount of debt students can be forced to take on. The OWFP opposes all efforts to privatize Oregon’s public colleges and universities, calls for which have grown as the State’s budget picture has deteriorated.
V. Right to Organize
The right to organize a union free of intimidation or coercion is guaranteed by the 1935 Wagner Act, but after decades of attack, workers who try to organize can be threatened, harassed, and fired with impunity. Labor law reform is needed at the federal level, but Oregon’s elected officials can aid workers who are trying to organize by exposing employers who break the rules and violate workers’ rights. The OWFP expects candidates that we support to speak out in support of unionization efforts, to walk picket lines when workers go on strike.
VI. Reform Our Broken Financial System
Both the financial crisis and the bailouts that followed were the result of an egregiously broken financial system. We demand the strongest possible financial regulatory reform, including, but not limited to, substantial increases in capital requirements for large financial institutions, whatever they may call themselves; full disclosure and regulation of all trades in derivatives and other complex financial instruments; a strong and independent consumer financial protection agency with the power to crack down on abuses; an independent resolution authority, funded by a tax on large financial institutions, that would enable the federal government to ensure the orderly dismantling of any “too-big-to-fail” institutions which threaten to bring down the economy.
VII. Healthcare for All
Though we are troubled by many aspects of the recent health care overhaul, the OWFP strongly supports the principle that all Americans should have affordable health care. We believe that until the profit-motive is removed from the provision of health care in America, our system will remain one that mainly benefits insurance and pharmaceutical companies, while charging consumers too much for too little care. We ask OWFP nominees to Congress to commit to supporting all efforts to move our country in the direction of a single-payer, not-for-profit system of universal health care.
VIII. Sustainable Jobs
The Oregon Working Families Party strongly supports investment in “sustainable jobs,” which support families and communities as well as the environment. The OWFP believes that public dollars should never be used to subsidize poverty wages or to further the outsourcing of good jobs from our state. We ask OWFP nominees to insist on the inclusion of family sustaining wages and high labor standards in any legislation that uses federal funds to stimulate investment in the economy (whether that be in the form of direct investment, subsidies, tax credits, or any other fiscal mechanism).
IX. Fair Trade
For too long, the United States has negotiated trade deals that have undermined our economy, our environment, and our quality of life, all to the benefit of the largest multinational corporations who flaunt our laws, evade our taxes, and create ever greater levels of insecurity here and abroad. The Oregon Working Families Party strongly supports passage of the “TRADE” Act, which was introduced in 2008 with 50 original co-sponsors. As a state that has seen the way that outsourcing can ravage communities, the OWFP believes that all of Oregon’s congressional delegation should co-sponsor the TRADE Act and work to see its passage.
X. Right to Organize
The right to organize a union free of intimidation or coercion is guaranteed by the 1935 Wagner Act, but after decades of attack, workers who try to organize can be threatened, harassed, and fired with impunity. The consequences of this attack on the right to organize reached tragic heights when 29 miners in a non-union West Virginia mine lost their lives in West Virginia in a non-union mine. Massey Energy’s abysmal safety record and aggressive anti-union stance went hand in hand. The Oregon Working Families Party supports efforts such as the Employee Free Choice Act, which if passed would solve many of the current problems in trying to organize and reach a first contract. It would strengthen penalties for companies that illegally coerce or intimidate employees in an effort to prevent them from forming a union, it would bring in a neutral third party to settle a contract when a company and a newly certified union cannot agree on a contract after three months, and it would establish majority signup, meaning that if a majority of the employees sign union authorization cards, validated by the NLRB, a company must recognize the union.
Given the inability to date of the Democratic majority to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we want to know from all OWFP nominees what they are going to do to make it easier and safer to organize a union and get a first contract.