February 17th, 2012 | by HANNAH HOFFMAN News | Posted In: Activism, Legislature, Schools, Politics, PDX Votes

UPDATED: Union Groups Co-Host Rally But Disagree on Title, Priorities

Oregon State Capitol.Oregon's Capitol Building
Union groups plan to descend on the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, but they can't seem to agree on what to call the rally—or why they're having it.

The SEIU 503, which represents state workers, advertises the Presidents Day event as “A Day of Action for Oregon’s Future.” (Fliers for the rally were handed out at an Occupy Portland event Thursday night.)

But the Oregon Education Association—which the SEIU says is coming to its rally—has another name for it: the “Strong Schools, Strong Oregon Day of Action,” as advertised on the group’s website.

At this union mash-up, the SEIU will be protesting tax breaks and lost jobs, while the teachers (as part of the same event) will be protesting standardized testing and funding cuts for schools.

The SEIU flier says, “Something’s got to give—and it can’t continue to be public workers and Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens.”

The OEA says, "Investing in public schools is Oregon's way out of this economic crisis.”

At least the OEA will be “Wearing red for public ed!” so you can tell its members apart.

Scott Moore, communications director for Our Oregon, says the groups emphasize different priorities for their members but are united in opposing the Legislature's refusal to extend the 10.8 percent marginal tax rate on households making more than $250,000, which Measure 66 put into effect until Jan. 1, when it dropped to 9.9 percent.

(That's still higher than 9 percent rate the very wealthy paid in Oregon before 2009.)

"We share the same goals of holding the Legislature accountable, making sure they prioritize schools, jobs and basic services for struggling families," Moore says. He says all the groups think Salem could raise revenue instead of making deep cuts.

"Their hands are not tied," he says. "It's not that they can't do that—they're just choosing not to do that."

 

 
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