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Brad Avakian: Oregon's Labor Commissioner

Brad Avakian’s Record: Standing up for Oregon Workers and Supporting Strong Businesses

Bureau of Labor and Industries

  • Directed more than $22 million in wages back to employees while holding employers accountable when they try to skirt the law and cheat workers.

  • Worked with a broad coalition of labor, educators, businesses and others to return shop class and skills training back to 200 high schools and middle schools serving more than 100,000 students around the state.

  • Made more than 150 companies and individuals ineligible for public projects for breaking wage and hour and prevailing wage laws.

  • Secured a $2.4 million settlement against Daimler Trucks North America stemming from complaints of racial discrimination and intimidation, the largest civil rights settlement in the agency’s history.

  • Established strong protections for workers’ right to meal and rest breaks. Secured the agency’s largest meal and rest period settlement on behalf of workers at Google’s data center in The Dalles.

  • Helped oversee more than 8,000 apprentices complete BOLI-certified apprenticeship programs to earn while they learn – so that they could find a pathway to great, high-wage careers.

  • Revitalized Oregon’s Prevailing Wage System and helped make it easier for contractors to complete the wage survey. Offered free seminars around the state to help contractors with the process.

  • Eliminated a civil rights and wage and hour backlog so that Oregonians could have timely access to justice.

  • Advanced new tools against wage theft, including the ability to garnish bank accounts of businesses that refuse to pay workers wages earned [SB 468].

  • Secured military burial rights for Nancy Lynchild, the spouse and registered domestic partner of retired Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Linda Campbell, following a nine month process to the first such waiver for a same-sex couple.

  • Oversaw strong civil rights enforcement, including protecting whistleblowers who face retaliation for reporting prevailing wage violations.

  • Worked with legislative leaders to make Oregon the first state to close the intern loophole so that unpaid interns enjoy civil rights and harassment protection on the job [HB 2669].

  • Expanded training and resources for employer labor compliance so that they can understand worker protections and avoid violations in the first place. Doubled the number of compliance experts in the agency’s Technical Assistance for Employers program.

  • Created the Oregon Council on Civil Rights to develop and advance policies and initiatives, including ending the pay gap between women, people of color and their white male counterparts.

  • Advocated for equal pay initiatives to close the wage gap between women, people of color and their white male counterparts. Worked with legislative leaders to pass Oregon’s Paycheck Transparency Act [SB 2007] so that workers can discuss salaries with colleagues free from retaliation.

  • Created the “Commissioner’s Scholarship” for the Oregon Labor Candidates School so that more union members can run for office and serve at every level of government.

  • Saved taxpayers more than $300,000 from the BOLI budget every two years by identifying new costs savings, such as reduced postage costs, consolidated agency supplies and decreased interagency expenses.

  • Protected workers on the job when they faced religious discrimination.

  • Issued a $395,000 order against a Bend business that forced a Christian employee to undergo Scientology-based trainings against her religious beliefs. Also helped lead the effort to repeal a 1920s law sponsored by the Klu Klux Klan that banned public school teachers from wearing clothing with a religious meaning.

  • Oversaw efforts to make BOLI more transparent and accessible. Under Avakian’s leadership, BOLI earned an Oregon Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) First Freedom Award in 2014 for the agency’s work putting all BOLI Final Orders since the 1970s online in an easy-to-navigate format.


  • Co-Sponsor of Right to Workplace Leave for Victims of Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence. When someone has suffered an assault or domestic abuse, worrying about keeping their job should be the last of their concerns. Yet too often, victims had to worry whether taking time off to recover would put them at financial peril. Moreover, when victims of domestic violence leave their abuser, their place of work becomes a prime location for that abuser to confront them. Avakian co-sponsored legislation ensuring victims can take time off from work to recover and make a new start [SB 946].

  • Leader in establishing Card Check for Oregon Unions. Avakian co-sponsored the Oregon law establishing card check authorization for union elections governed by Oregon Employment Relations Board [HB 2891].

  • Led effort Establishing Home Care Workers Rights to Organize. Avakian was chief sponsor of law establishing child care workers’ right to collectively bargain with state and co-sponsor of law establishing right of adult foster care workers to collectively bargain with state [SB 788 & SB 858].

  • Modernized and expanded Oregon’s Bottle Bill to include plastic water bottles [SB 707].

  • Helped pass laws to protect Oregon waterways from illegal ballast water exchange and invasive species [SB 643, 644].

  • Fought to ensure that Oregonians cannot be denied access to jobs, housing or public places because of sexual orientation or gender identity [SB 2].

  • Ensured Striking Workers Can Collect Unemployment. Avakian co-sponsored law establishing right of workers to collect unemployment when locked out during labor dispute [2007 HB 3339].

  • Passed the Oregon Renewable Energy Act of 2007 to create more clean energy jobs for the state. Named Oregon League of Conservation Voters’ “Consensus Builder of the Year” for effort [SB 838].

News & Updates

November 10Our work never stops
November 4The closest race in the state
October 27This is really bad for women
October 20Eugene Weekly's Election Endorsements - Eugene Weekly
October 18Dennis Richardson is too extreme for Oregon - NW Labor Press
October 18Richardson not a strong advocate for women - Register-Guard
See all news and updates.

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