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Bailey Pledges Support for Unions

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Multnomah County Commissioner and Mayoral candidate Jules Bailey made another strong commitment to labor unions this week, pledging support for fair share in Portland regardless of the upcoming Supreme Court Decision surrounding the practice. As GoLocal reported, Bailey has in the past received significant campaign contributions from labor unions.

“The bargaining process relies on partners at both sides of the table who can bring their best ideas and have the ability to carry them out,” Bailey told GoLocal. “Crippling representation in our workforce serves no one, and erodes the foundation we’ve worked so hard to build.”

Fair share or fair bargaining is a union practice that requires an employee covered by a union to pay union dues, regardless of whether or not they would like to be a member. The US Supreme Court will soon issue a ruling on Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association, which could overturn the precedent that allows for fair share practices.

Bailey said he had two plans for keeping the practice in use, depending on how the Supreme Court writes their decision. 

“First, that the City require all employees covered by a contract to contribute to the cost of crafting and administering that contract -- either through a recognized bargaining unit or through a fee to the City,” Bailey proposed. “Or, in the event of a broad ruling by the Court, simply to reserve contractual relationships to employees who contributed a fair share to the cost of crafting and administering their contract. Employees who opt out would be subject to existing civil service laws and have their salary and benefit levels set by city staff.”

Strong Union Ties

As GoLocal reported previously, nearly one-quarter of Bailey’s campaign financing during his run for County Commissioner in 212 came from labor organizations such as worker’s unions and trade associations.

 GoLocal review of campaign contributions showed that more than $32,000 of the $141,167 Bailey raised during his campaign for County Commissioner from January to June of 2014 came from labor organizations. That makes up roughly 23 percent of his overall contributions during that time period.

What’s more, many of Bailey’s biggest individual donors during the campaign were labor unions and trade associations. Five of Bailey’s ten largest donations came from unions, including two of the top five. In fact, Oregon AFSCME Council 75, which gave Bailey two separate donations of $2,5000. None of Bailey’s other top contributors gave two such donations.

Jim Moore, Director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University, told GoLocal he was not surprised at Bailey’s close relationship with unions.

“Bailey was part of a Democratic caucus in the legislature that unions wanted to help win majority power,” Moore explained. “Unions might play a major role, but only if they see that Bailey has a chance of winning against Wheeler. Otherwise, there are better places for union political money to go.”

Will It Make an Impact?

Experts told GoLocal that having the support of labor unions could prove helpful for Bailey as he fights an uphill battle against opponent Ted Wheeler.

“Unions are a big player in political fundraising,” according to John Horvick, Vice President and Political Director for DHM Research. “I suspect that he has a very good relationship with those groups.”

Gary Malecha, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Portland, told GoLocal that donors want to ensure that they have a good relationship with those in power.

“They want to make sure they have access to those who are going to be making these decisions,” Malecha said. “It’s not uncommon to see heavy contributions by those who are going to deal often with a government entity.”

How Will Support Continue?

Bailey will likely need the support of labor leaders once again in this race against Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler (D). Wheeler began his campaign months ahead of Bailey, and has wasted no time racking up endorsements and campaign funding. 

Making it even more difficult for Bailey to close the fundraising gap is Bailey’s decision to limit campaign contributions. Bailey told GoLocal he was self-imposing a limit of to $250 during the Mayoral campaign. Horvick said that decision could cost him dearly.

“I think it puts him at a real disadvantage,” John Horvick, vice president and political director for DHM Research, told GoLocal regarding the decision. “I think he’s making it as a philosophical decision and as a tactical decision, but it’s not the norm and it could hurt him.”

Horvick said that the move could especially hurt considering his past contributions from unions. In place of high-ceiling contributions from labor groups, Bailey will need them to help in more creative ways.

“If the unions can’t contribute financially, they could help on the ground,” Horvick said. “People on the grounds, knocking on doors and sending mailers, things like that. But even still, those all cost money.”

Moore agreed.

“It means he had better have a strong volunteer base to have a chance in the election,” Moore said. “That has happened before, but Bailey is not nearly as well known as former Mayor Tom Potter, who had a big base of support from his very public role as chief of police.”


Related Slideshow: SLIDESHOW: Ted Wheeler Announces Portland Mayoral Candidacy on Rooftop of Revolution Hall

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler was joined by the press and many close friends, family members, and supporters on the rooftop of Revolution Hall off of SE Stark so that he could officially make his candidacy announcement for Portland mayor in the 2016 mayoral race.

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Wheeler's podium before his arrival.

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A string of Wheeler supporters stood behind him during his announcement. 

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Wheeler supporters wait for his arrival.

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Representative Lew Frederick (D) from District 43 is a Wheeler supporter.

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A Wheeler staffer readies reporters for Wheeler's entrance.

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Media and Wheeler staffers at the announcement speech.

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A reporter at the announcement speech. 

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Ted Wheeler arrived on the rooftop to heavy applause. 

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Representative Lew Frederick (D) from District 43 gave the opening speech at the Wheeler mayoral announcement.

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The Portland business community turned out to speak on Wheelers' behalf. 

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The owner of Mother's Bistro, Lisa Schroeder, gave a speech in honor of Ted Wheeler's candidacy announcement.

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Lisa Schroeder and Ted Wheeler shake hands. 

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Ted Wheeler gave his speech with supporters surrounding him. 

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Mayoral Candidate Ted Wheeler spoke of repaving roads, helping the homeless, issues of racial equity, and resurrecting the "Portland weird" of former Portland mayor Sam Adams. 

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Supporters and media watched as Wheeler spoke. 

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Wheeler greeted supporters after his speech. 

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Wheeler shook hands with supporters after his speech. 

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Ted Wheeler's wife, Katrinka Wheeler, whispers something into her husband's ear as he thanks friends and supporters after his announcement speech.

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Ted Wheeler hugged one of his supporters. 

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Ted Wheeler's mother pets a visiting dog after her son's announcement. 

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"He's an ally to the LGBT community, he cares about making the situation better for the homeless -- and he has a long history of showing that he cares," said owner of Mother's Bistro Lisa Schroeder. 

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Katrina Wheeler speaks with her husband's mother as well as friends after her husband's announcement speech. 

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Media and Wheeler supporters stuck around after Wheeler's speech. 


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