News

Editorial endorsements May 2022: Christina Stephenson for labor commissioner

May 1, 2022
 – 
The Oregonian

Oregonians should choose Stephenson as their next labor commissioner.

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Stephenson’s employment law expertise provides a valuable base for overseeing an agency with a growing backlog of uninvestigated complaints. If elected, she would adopt a “strategic enforcement” model for prioritizing the agency’s attention, in which the agency would decide what level of intervention, if any, is necessary depending on the complaint. The idea is to preserve limited resources to go after those employers or industries that are intentionally violating the law.

While Stephenson typically represents workers, she stressed the importance of education, adding that most business owners want to follow the rules. That means helping businesses access the specific information they need to comply with various workplace rules. She supports expanding the agency’s tiny technical assistance division in which BOLI can provide guidance and training to employers and increasing outreach to employers about new laws and requirements. This benefits the agency, as well, she noted, saying Oregonians won’t have to file as many complaints if businesses are empowered with the clear, specific information they need to follow the law.

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Endorsements: State Races Governor, BOLI and Legislature

April 28, 2022
 – 
Eugene Weekly

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for labor commissioner, we are going with civil rights and employment lawyer Christina Stephenson. She’s got the endorsements of the last five Oregon labor commissioners — four Democrats and one Republican — and the overwhelming backing of the Oregon labor movement. She’s politically savvy and strong on workers’ and civil rights.

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WW’s May 2022 Endorsements: Oregon Governor May the best woman win in November.

April 27, 2022
 – 
Willamette Week

In the scrum to succeed Hoyle, Christina Stephenson is the clear choice—a candidate with demonstrated effectiveness in the work BOLI does.

Stephenson, 38, a Portland civil rights lawyer, owns a small law firm and has represented workers seeking relief from sexual harassment, wage theft and discrimination. She’s championed workplace reforms, including the addition of paid bereavement leave to the Oregon Family Leave Act, and helped pass the Workplace Fairness Act in 2019, which tightens employers’ requirements for sexual harassment and discrimination protocol.

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Oregon labor commissioner candidates: priorities, approach – and their takes on Sweet Cakes by Melissa

April 21, 2022
 – 
Oregonian

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Election 2022: Meet the candidates for Oregon labor commissioner

April 10, 2022
 – 
Statesman Journal

If elected labor commissioner, Stephenson wants to continue to defend workers.

“I really think that the job is to make sure that as Oregon's economy is growing and changing, that the workers, the employers, the consumers, everyone who makes the economy run, that they know they have someone in their corner, someone who's looking out for them,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson says she has a good understanding of what it’s like to run a small business and worry about making payroll, too.

“We can make it so much easier for employers to do the right thing,” she says. The division of the bureau that is meant to help businesses comply with regulations has just six workers in it, Stephenson said.

Stephenson says that overall, the bureau has half the workers that it did 40 years ago and she wants the agency to be strategic about how and where it spends money and enforces workplace protections. Part of that could involve using data to see which industries are least compliant.

Stephenson has been endorsed by Hoyle, the current labor commissioner, as well as unions from PCUN, the farmworkers’ union, to the Oregon State Firefighters Council. As of April 7, Stephenson was by far the largest fundraiser for the race, with her campaign raising about $109,000 this year.

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BOLI is Oregon's referee for business vs. workers

April 2, 2022
 – 
Bend Bulletin

“What everyone wants and needs is clarity and simplicity,” Stephenson said.

BOLI’s role in job and technical training is to align students as early as middle school to know their options. Programs have to match employers needs. The result has to be good jobs that pay a living wage.

Stephenson said she was proud of the support she’s received from organized labor, but that didn’t mean she would come into the job in an adversarial stance to business.

“Quality jobs, fair housing, fair wages, should all be pretty non-controversial issues,” she said. “Our good employers don’t want these bad actors breaking the law. It puts them at a competitive disadvantage when someone else is making money through wage theft.”

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Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla and Trial Lawyer Christina Stephenson Will Compete to Be Labor Commissioner

January 19, 2022
 – 
Willamete Week

“Growing up in rural Oregon, I witnessed first-hand how too many workers and small businessesare unheard by politicians,” Stephenson said. “As a civil rights attorney, I have spent my career fighting against discrimination, sexual harassment, and unlawful labor practices. As your next labor commissioner, I’ll be that same advocate for workers’ rights and economic fairness.”

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Bipartisan race for Oregon labor commissioner shaping up

March 10, 2022
 – 
Oregonian

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Union ally announces run for Oregon Labor Commissioner

January 19, 2022
 – 
NW Labor Press

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