Here is a statement today by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain on Obama’s State of the Union Address last night:
President Obama presented a vision of the future last night that working families across Oregon, and the country, stand behind. His vision is of an economy that works for all of us, where a minimum wage can support a family, workers can take paid time off when they’re sick, our tax code is fair, and we have expanded access to higher education. It’s encouraging to see our President take a stand for immigrant rights, for the right to form a union and for growing the middle class. That’s the America we need.
Following President Obama’s lead, we must keep fighting for income equality. That’s why raising the minimum wage is so important right now. I am concerned, however, about President Obama’s statements on expanding free trade agreements because Oregon lost thousands of jobs as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The expanding trade deficit with China has displaced tens of thousands of jobs in our state. It’s clear to me that we can’t afford another free trade deal that leaves Oregon’s workers hurting and unable to make ends meet. My hope is that Congress is able to weigh all of the information in front of them before passing any kind of trade agreement that could negatively impact our economy.
The true test of Congress over the next two years will be to put the President’s plan into action and build an America where working families have a fair shot at economic prosperity.