Brad Avakian’s Record: Standing up for Oregon Workers and Supporting Strong Businesses
Restoring Career Education in Public Schools and Strengthening Workforce Training: Because a strong workforce is crucial to attracting and retaining high-wage jobs and businesses in Oregon, Brad fought to restore shop and vocational education to Oregon schools through House Bill 3362 (2011). In his second term as Labor Commissioner, he’ll continue to focus on workforce development to make sure we have the best skilled, best-trained workforce that can compete with anyone in the world.
Creating Jobs and Ensuring Strong Apprenticeship Programs: Thanks to strong partnerships between business and labor, over 6,200 apprentices have been trained for good jobs during Avakian’s tenure as Labor Commissioner. Through work experience and classroom learning, these apprentices have been able to earn a paycheck and get on-the-job training while obtaining their journey level certification.
Standing Up For Strong Prevailing Wage Laws: Brad has a consistent record of fighting for fair wages and real worker protections, including updating Oregon’s prevailing wage system in his first term as Labor Commissioner and debarring over 43 contractors that were breaking the law and cheating their workers. He has consistently opposed any effort to roll back Oregon’s prevailing wage law and in 2009, Brad led the charge to defeat House Bill 2430, which would have exempted additional projects from the prevailing wage.
Protecting Employees from Bounced Paychecks: Brad passed legislation in 2011 to protect workers from overdraft charges if their paycheck bounces (House Bill 2039, 2011). BOLI is now able to assess civil penalties, payable to the employee, when an employer writes a paycheck with insufficient funds. This new penalty protects employees from charges incurred though no fault of their own.
Fair Treatment for Workers and Employers: As Labor Commissioner, Brad has eliminated the backlog of investigations, benefiting both workers and employers by bringing faster resolution to complaints filed with the agency. Brad has held employers who try to cheat their workers accountable, and has recovered over $14.5 million in lost wages, benefits and damages. And, with the help of both business and labor, he created the strongest meal and rest break protections in the nation that also gives employers the flexibility they need to not disrupt operations.
Promoting Strong Oregon Businesses: Brad has increased the state's investment in employer assistance services, bringing educational seminars to communities throughout Oregon and ensuring that every employer can contact BOLI for an answer to their questions about employment law. Even as budget cuts reduced other state services, Brad has kept a constant priority of equipping employers to understand and follow Oregon law, preventing unnecessary worker complaints and supporting productive workplaces for all Oregonians. Brad has also established the annual BOLI Business Leadership Awards to recognize Oregon's champions of Civil Rights, Fair Workplaces and Workforce Development.