Despite their clout, Oregon’s public-sector unions face tough fights in 2013 Legislature

By Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian

Oregon’s powerful public employee unions had one of their best election days ever in November.

Their Democratic allies won all but one seriously contested legislative race and now fully control both the House and Senate. Union-backed candidates won all four statewide seats up for grabs, and voters also passed a union-financed ballot measure eliminating kicker tax rebates for corporations.

It was enough for Jay Clemens, president of Associated Oregon Industries, to tell a union leader at a post-election meeting: “You guys don’t lose anything.”

On the surface that may seem the case. Oregon’s public workers are more unionized than in most states. Union leaders have set up a permanent campaign operation with other liberal groups to magnify their influence in elections. And no political leader here is following Wisconsin or Michigan in attacking their collective bargaining rights.

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