During this past legislative session, the Oregon State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1049, a measure designed to help begin to fix Oregon’s $27 billion unfunded pension liability. The bill, which received bi-partisan support, would require public employees to set aside a portion of their own salaries to fund the deficit.
Government unions seethed.
Both AFSCME Council 75, the state’s largest exclusive representative for local governments, and the Oregon AFL-CIO, the state’s federation of unions, have stated they will not endorse lawmakers who voted for the bill — including Democrats.
Oregon AFSCME’s president stated there would be, “No interviews, no endorsement, no financial support” for any legislator who didn’t toe the line.
Initially, the bill received only 29 “yes” votes in the House — two short of the simple majority needed to pass. While the rest of the House recessed, one by one Rep. Mitch Greenlick and Rep. Andrea Salinas were hauled into the back room where the speaker strongly encouraged them to rethink their votes.
Not only has Greenlick been a strong union supporter in his almost two decades of service, but Salinas was a lobbyist for SEIU 503 prior to her appointment to the Legislature.
It’s no secret these labor groups and many others nearly always endorse liberal politicians. In fact, it’s how both unions and leftist politicians have been able to accumulate so much clout in states like Oregon.
Angry rumors of Democrat primaries persist.
Or in AFSCME’s case, could this temper tantrum just be a cover? Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Oregon’s AFSCME Council 75 has lost a considerable number of members. So many that the state office actually received more funds from the international union than it donated.
This is almost unheard of for large government unions on the west coast.
AFSCME could be using this bill as cover for plans to scale back its involvement in politics next election. Of course, the sustained revenue losses that resulted from members opting out in droves following Janus might have a little to do with it, too.
This is just another example of unions losing their grip over the party in power and Oregon politics as a whole.