Party Resolutions

Resolution 2015-066: Just Cause for Employment Terminations

Sponsored by: Austin Folnagy, Labor Caucus Approved: 06/28/2015

A RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON

WHEREAS the United States (excluding Montana) is alone among industrialized countries in allowing workers to be considered “at will” employees and dismissed for any reason – justified or not – unless protected by a union contract or individual agreement; and

WHEREAS more than 89 percent of all workers lack contract protections in Oregon and thousands of workers are unjustly fired every year; and

WHEREAS shifting labor markets and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, with globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and the Great Recession making confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that few  enjoy; and

WHEREAS a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that 45 percent of workers say job insecurity has a significant impact on stress levels and 62 percent say work has a significant impact on their stress levels while almost 50 percent indicate their stress levels have increased between 2007 and 2008; and

WHEREAS research by a University of Michigan sociologist showed that workers concerned about losing their jobs reported significantly worse overall health and were more depressed than those who had actually lost and regained their jobs recently; and

WHEREAS chronic job insecurity was shown to be a stronger predictor of poor health than either smoking or hypertension; and

WHEREAS at-will employment results in increasingly costly litigation for employers and studies have shown that protections against unfair discharge do not hinder employment growth; and

WHEREAS the National AFL-CIO Executive Council supports modifications to the “at-will doctrine” to “provide a base of support for collective bargaining through legislation that seeks to…safeguard workers against discharges without cause.”

NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1.To support the adoption of an Oregon statute similar to the Montana’s Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act* in order to provide “Just Cause” job security standards for all contracts of employment in Oregon; and

Section 2. To request that the Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon forward copies of this resolution to the Oregon House Speaker and Senate President, appropriate members of the Oregon House and Senate, and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Section 3.  To request that the Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon consider the creation of an ad hoc committee to advance this legislative concept in the Oregon legislature.

* Montana Code Ann. 39-2-901 (1987)

Resolution submitted by Austin Folnagy, Klamath County, on behalf of the Labor Caucus; Amended by the Platform Committee, Jan. 18, 2015.

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