Calling for Good jobs, great service at the Post Office, a hub for community life!

On Tuesday, July 26th, on the Postal Service’s 247th birthday, JWJ called for investments in career Postal jobs, as good jobs = great service. Postal workers, and community, united, also called to fulfill the vision of postal unions: that the Postal Service be a vital hub for community services, with delivery powered by union-made electric vehicles!

Rev. David Wheeler of JWJ’s Faith Labor Committee gave a strong opening. It was inviting and humorous, citing real life experience many communities, especially rural, share. The postal service is a hub for public life! Twitter thread.

Video and excerpt below:

Excerpt of Rev. David Wheeler’s speech to Postal Workers.

“Efficiency is having workers who know what they’re doing, have a long tenure on their jobs, and who care about those jobs.”

(Audible “Amen” from the crowd!)

“I’m a Baptist and that’s a dirty word in a lot of places of our culture now, because that’s a word associated with the religious right and reactionary forces. But I’m a Martin Luther King Jr Baptist. I’m a Rep. John Lewis Good Trouble Baptist. I’m a follower of Jesus when he made Good Trouble on Earth, and his most faithful disciples continue to make Good Trouble. He talked about a vein of God that was Shalom and Respect.

When we support Workers Rights, we support the Divine Reign of Shalom. Here’s why that’s important. Sometimes bad ideas, misguided people, just plain bad people seem to have all the power. Sometimes our struggles for justice, for caring, for opportunity, for fairness, seem futile. But as MLK Jr said a long time ago, “the arc of history is long but it bends towards justice. We are not perfect but we are on the right side. I want you, I want us, to be encouraged. I want you to know that in the long run, that one step at a time, one rally at a time, one contract negotiation at a time, one conversation with supervisors at a time. Step by step by step in the long run we are on the right side. Be of good courage. I’m fascinated that this is a birthday celebration. We celebrated the birthday of our poor, fractured, threatened, union called the United States of America 246th birthday just a few weeks ago. but the USPS, going all the way back to the initiative of Benjamin Franklin is 247 years old. And from what I understand, 247 years later, Benjamin Franklin is going to put in an appearance today. Man am I stoked about that. But these things can happen. Once at First Baptist church downtown, we had a live debate between Martin Luther and the Pope. So I know these things can happen. What do we look for in a US Postal Service? Yes we look for efficiencies if they’re fair. Yes we look for good equipment and we want to keep it and enhance it rather than mothball it. Yes we want good transportation. We want American made electric vehicles instead of gas guzzlers. We look for efficiencies, we aren’t immune to business sense. But first and last and foremost, the United States Postal Service is Service. My parents grew up in a couple small towns in KY 8 miles apart. The post office was the hub of the community. We know that’s still the case in places in rural Oregon, but it could be so much more. Not only a place to meet. A place to pick up your mail. A place to do your banking. A place to access social services. These initiatives which are part of what the postal unions want are further steps toward the Shalom of God. I grew up in a city, Kentucky, Louisville. My neighborhood post office is a place where folks met. It was a service to the community and that is what we want, .And in the long run, step by step by step, we are on the right side. And we shall prevail. Thank you very much God Bless You all!”

Workers win stronger protections from heat and smoke just in time for summer!

Hot weather is here, and here is what you need to know! New rules in Oregon are now in effect to protect workers, including the right to more breaks, water, and shade!

Know your rights! Go here for information:
https://osha.oregon.gov/workers/Pages/Worker-rights-and-responsibilities.aspx

After a year and a half of rulemaking, collaboration, and advocacy by workers and environmental, health, small business, and labor activists, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted and published permanent rules to protect Oregon’s frontline workers from the increasingly frequent and extreme conditions being driven by climate change today. 

They are the strongest of their kind in the nation! Let’s break it down:

The Good:

Access to shade, cool drinking water, and increased paid breaks at 80F and 90F. 

Additional high heat protections at 90F, which include a buddy system, increased communication between employers, supervisors, and employees, and a requirement for employers to measure heat and humidity levels in indoor structures.

Employers must provide annual training, an acclimatization plan, heat illness prevention plan, and emergency medical plan. 

Employers to provide emergency N95 respirators for voluntary use at 101 AQI (“unhealthy for sensitive groups.”)

Feasible administrative or engineering controls be implemented at the workplace to reduce the level of smoke to below 101 AQI (“unhealthy for sensitive groups.”) (e.g. changing work locations, using HVAC system to filter smoke.) 

Mandatory respirator use at 251 AQI. A complete respiratory protection program is required at 500 AQI (“hazardous”)

The Bad:

The tiered rest/work schedules in high heat are confusing, hard to implement, and give employers too much discretion on when workers can rest. The rules provide three charts / choices which could potentially lead to difficulty in enforcement, and to workers knowing their rights.

The weakest of the tiered rest/work schedules does not consider whether a worker is exposed to direct sun.  

The heat protections in labor housing remain incomplete, and OR OSHA plans to fully address these protections in another separate rulemaking.

How workers voices made the difference:

Dozens of people provided testimony and hundreds of public comments were delivered asking OSHA to protect people from climate change. See the joint press release here.

Climate Jobs/Jobs with Justice helped broaden the scope, helped organize unions to weigh in during OSHA’s rulemaking process. Many union leaders signed on to extensive letters directed to OSHA from the stakeholder coalition detailing workers needs, what needed to be changed in the various OSHA drafts. 

Bus drivers in the ATU, warehouse workers in the Teamsters, hazardous waste facility workers in AFSCME, cooks in Doughnut Workers United, Letter Carriers, workers from IATSE, and more testified to OSHA before and during the public comment period. This testimony from workers was absolutely critical in getting improvements in the draft rules. A number of workers also submitted letters to the editor of Portland and Salem newspapers and a number were published.

These final rules were truly a team effort between JWJ, JWJ’s Climate Jobs and partners PCUN, Northwest Workers Justice Project, Oregon Environmental Council, Main Street Alliance, Oregon Law Center, Oregon AFL-CIO, and all of the workers who weighed in!

JWJ’s Faith Labor Committee is Recruiting Leaders!

Are you a person of faith and fired up over workers struggle and social justice? Are you interested in working in fellowship with volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to uplift working people? Are you interested in expanding out the good works and building solidarity among communities of faith? Then the opportunity below is for you!

The cherished Co-Chairs of JWJ’s Faith-Labor Committee are looking to pass the torch to new leadership. Check out the Job Description here, and get in touch with Jean and/or Cecil for more information!

Faith leaders stand with Starbucks workers on their road to union victories!

The workers, united, will never be defeated! The unstoppable Starbucks Workers United, SBWUPDX, won again, Tuesday 6/7 at the embattled Jantzen Beach (JB) store in a 10-5 sweep! JB has been the site of fierce struggle between union activists and company managers. One JB barista, Matt Thornton, was fired for union organizing. JB workers, with community support, shut the store down twice in protest, once with a rally (in which JWJ co-Chair Jacob Faatz spoke) and once with a strike (in which Rev. Connie Yost from JWJ’s Faith Labor Committee spoke.) See below for Rev. Connie Yost’s invocation from the picket line!

We cheer that Portland Starbucks baristas are 9 for 9 in the Portland area! Jantzen Beach workers join union baristas who won their unions June 2nd: Jenkins at Cedar Hills (voted 10-2), Walker Road (voted 12-5), Garden Home (voted 12-1.) Prior to that victories were won at Westmoreland (voted 9-1), SE Powell/28th (voted 14-2), SW 5th/Oak (voted 5-0), 23/Burnside (voted 9-2), Grand/Lloyd (voted 9-0.).

The outpouring of community support–the countless rallies, sip-ins for #UnionStrong coffee, car caravans, social media support, and standing with striking baristas on the picket line — has been critical every step of the way! Starbucks workers keep winning, and have already won over 135 unions nation-wide, in the face of a vicious anti-worker campaign led by CEO Howard Schultz. When workers unite, they win. When labor and community unite, it’s a movement – together we make more movement wins possible!

See below for the invocation Rev. Connie Yost from JWJ’s Faith Labor Committee delivered to workers at the Jantzen Beach picket line!

Co-Chair Jacob Faatz with The Rev. Connie Yost
"It is good to be with you today. I am the Rev. Connie Yost and a member of the Faith Labor Committee of Jobs with Justice. Standing with workers is an important part of my ministry, and I feel a special connection to Starbucks workers.
I grew up in Seattle and before I entered the ministry, I was in sales and Starbucks was a client of mine.
This was the early 90’s when Starbucks was just getting going. Now I am the President of Farm Worker Ministry Northwest and a few years ago, I attended the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle at the request of United Farm Workers, which was trying to get Starbucks to support dairy workers. This annual meeting was quite a lavish affair with thousands in attendance. There were 3 large screens showing pictures of Black and brown coffee farmers and smiling Starbucks workers in their green aprons. For several hours Starbucks management emphasized their ethical and sustainable values. And yet when it came time for management to stand up for the dairy workers in their supply chain, it was clearly “not our problem.”
Now, today, it is their problem. You are making good trouble. You are standing up for your rights,
beginning with the right to organize. We call on Starbucks management to stop their union-busting tactics. We call on Starbucks to reinstate union organizer Matt Thornton who was unjustly fired.
We call on Starbucks to walk the talk, taking to heart the company’s own motto: To inspire and
nurture the human spirit. What better way to do that than to treat workers fairly?
Let us pray, We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of these workers. We say “no” to the greed that values profit over people. The workers are the backbone of the company, not the shareholders.
Let us each call on our own source of strength so we can find it in our heart to stand with these workers even when the going gets tough.
Workers, may you know that our hearts are open to you in love, justice and hospitality. May the
organizing and strikes soon bear fruit. We are with you.
This we pray, in the spirit of life, love and solidarity.
Amen."

Help Eviction Representation for All Make it to the Ballot!

As proud sponsors of Eviction Representation for All, the tenant-led campaign to balance the scales of eviction court and to keep tenants housed, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for! The campaign has been cleared for the ballot, and now it’s a sprint to get there! In order to make the Nov 2022 ballot, we need to get 30,000 signatures by July 18. Let’s get Eviction Representation to the ballot for voters to vote on!

 With your support, this is totally possible. Here's how you can help:  

1) Most importantly… sign the petition! You can print off your own petition sheet, sign it, and drop it off at one of our locations. (Instructions on how and where in the link below.)

www.eratenants.org/sign

2) Gather signatures! You can print off a circulator sheet and gather signatures from your roommates, family, co-workers and friends. No printer? No problem! Find signature sheets at the drop boxes around town! www.eratenants.org/gather

3) Join campaign events!

Attend ERA’s Canvasses here!

Save the date for the campaign kick-off, Sunday June 26th at noon, Powell Park.

4) Share your support for Eviction Representation for All and the fight to keep tenants housed! Boost the campaign on social: Twitter, Facebook, and Insta.

M4A Advocates Push Multnomah County to Pass Resolution for universal, publicly-funded health care!

Led by the work of health care advocates and their strong testimony about the painful gaps of a patchwork system, Multnomah County passed a resolution in support of universal, publicly-funded health care! JWJ’s Executive Director, Jill Pham, shared testimony about JWJ’s experience supporting contract fights: “Across industries, across all socio-economic statuses, health care costs are always a topic at every bargaining table. Our health and welfare being subjected to the crumbs left behind in a corporate budget. Even if you have access to an employer health care plan, the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays may make that impossible to access… No worker, no one at all, should have to toil for hours in undignified conditions just to be subjected to subpar health care.”

JWJ’s Health Care Committee organized turnout of supporters – clad in red – and was present for the vote. Thank you to all those who showed up to testify, and thank you to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners for recognizing the importance of universal single-payer healthcare, and pushing the Oregon Legislature and Governor to make it happen!

“𝘛𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘺 𝘶𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘖𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘰𝘯 𝘓𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘭, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥, 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦, 𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘺𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘮 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭 – 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘭.”

You can view the full text of the resolution here.