Council 75 endorses Barack Obama
Oregon AFSCME has endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States. The union’s executive board made the endorsement today (March 15) in Portland.
“The union took action prior to the upcoming Oregon primary because Obama has a history of standing up and fighting for working people,” said Oregon AFSCME Executive Director Ken Allen. “In Illinois, Sen. Obama fought alongside AFSCME to keep vital public services open, including mental hospitals and prisons. He also worked to help organize thousands of workers at Resurrection Hospital, and supported card check recognition for other workers seeking to unionize in their workplace.
“He is a candidate organized labor can proudly stand behind and support.”
Several members of the Oregon AFSCME Executive Board explained their support for Obama.
“I think he’s a uniter, not a divider,” said Becky Steward, President of AFSCME Local 88, which represents Multnomah County employees. “I believe his record better reflects how my members feel in Multnomah County.”
“I believe Obama has a proven track record of fighting for our members,” said Jack Tucker, President of AFSCME Local 2067, which represents City of Salem workers. “I also believe Obama has a much better chance of winning in November against John McCain.”
Dal Ollek, President of AFSCME Local 1724 that represents City of Eugene employees, said Obama brings a message of change.
“We need more collaboration at the national level,” said Ollek. “I believe this vote in support of Obama represents the best choice for the American people.”
Tina Turner-Morfitt of Salem is a Corrections Counselor and president of a statewide local that represents Corrections employees in the state prison system. Obama’s ability to unite people is what led her to support the endorsement.
“I believe Obama can unite Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, which is what our membership within Corrections looks like,” she said. “This endorsement best reflects the thinking of our members and leaders.”
Matt Hilton is 27 years old and works at OHSU, where is he active in AFSCME Local 328. Hilton also participates in Oregon AFSCME’s “Next Wave” program, which is geared toward bringing up new union activists from those 35 and under.
“I’m proud that AFSCME Council 75 has an independent voice and leaders that are willing to listen to our Oregon members’ opinions,” said Hilton.
“I’m proud of our progressive Council,” added Jaimie Sorenson, 30, another Local 328 member and another Next Waver. “Our union stands for what we believe in, and our candidate is Barack Obama.”
With the Obama endorsement, Oregon AFSCME joins the other biggest unions in Oregon supporting Obama in the Oregon primary, including the Oregon Education Association, the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers and others. Allen said AFSCME plans to mail to its members and participate in other get-out-the-vote activities both for Obama and for Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA ENDORSEMENT
FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
First as a community activist leading the most successful voter registration drive in the City of Chicago’s history, substantially increasing the voter rolls, and later as an Illinois State Senator Barack Obama has worked closely with AFSCME Council 31; and
His support for Illinois legislation which made it possible for public employees to organize based on a majority showing-of-interest (card check recognition) and which expanded access to affordable health care was crucial to the enactment of laws beneficial to working families; and
First as a state senator and then as a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate, Senator Obama has stood with AFSCME and workers at Resurrection Hospitals in Illinois attempting to organize; has publicly supported efforts by bus drivers in New Hampshire who want to organize into AFSCME; has called upon the President of the University of Minnesota to settle a strike by three AFSCME Locals and canceled a scheduled caucus so as not to require supporters to cross a picket line; and
The vision which Senator Obama of fers the country, one which calls upon an activated American public to forge its future by taking back control of their government, is one entirely consistent with AFSCME’s 21st Century Initiative and the view that its members and all working people must act now to shape a better world for working families; and
Barack Obama’s career in public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and elected official reflects the same values and priorities for which AFSCME stands; and
Senator Obama enjoys overwhelming support among AFSCME members who know him best, AFSCME Council 31 members; and
The appeal which Senator Obama has across all segments of our society, and his willingness to transcend partisan lines, makes him the strongest possible pro-working family candidate for the general election; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
AFSCME Council 75 urges the AFSCME International Union to stand with Senator Obama as he has stood with AFSCME for more than a decade, fighting for working families, and to support his candidacy for the presidency of the United States; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
AFSCME Council 75 proudly endorses Senator Obama’s candidacy for the presidency of the United States; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:
A copy of this resolution shall be mailed to each member of the AFSCME International Executive Board, and be released as part of a Press Release by AFSCME Council 75.
Michael O Hanna, AFSCME Local 88
Matt Hilton, AFSCME Local 328
Jaimie Sorenson, AFSCME Local 328