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TSA-AFGE, AFT fights layoffs, Boeing hiring…



►  Right here at The Stand — AFGE elected as union by TSA screeners! — Transportation Security Administration employees across the country have elected the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO as their exclusive union representative with an 8,903-8,447 vote over the National Treasury Employees Union.

►  At — TSO union vote results announced — The labor organizations waged a hard-fought battle for the largest group of federal employees ever to be formed into a bargaining unit. The campaign also drew attention from outside the federal workplace, because this is the largest current labor organizing effort in the country. The AFL-CIO strongly supported member union AFGE, which said it would bring the backing of organized labor to the support of TSOs.

►  At AFL-CIO Now — TSOs elect AFGE as their union — Even as the right to join a union is under attack across the country, more than 40,000 Transportation Security Administration employees in 450 airports today made a strong statement for workers’ rights.




►  In today’s News Tribune — Two-year college faculty resist layoff measure — Unions representing faculty members at the state’s two-year colleges pleaded with their system’s governing board Wednesday in Olympia not to adopt an emergency measure that would make it easier for colleges to lay off tenured faculty members in the midst of a budget crisis. “Faculty are working hard, taking overloads, giving up sabbaticals, losing courses,” said Sandra Schroeder, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents community college faculty around the state. She said she has heard the emergency provision referred to as a tool that colleges might need. “That tool feels like a weapon,” she said.

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — Closure of state tourism office leaves Washington promotion in private hands — Until this year, Washington state ranked 49th in the nation for its annual investment in funding state tourism promotion. Now it ranks 50th. People in the state’s tourism industry are puzzled about the final cut of $1.8 million, considering it helped to promote the state as a tourism destination that attracted more than $15 billion in 2010.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Note to our new private promoters, even “SayWA” would be better than “We Suck.”

►  In today’s News Tribune — Expanded hours at state liquor stores take effect July 1 — The new hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The 58 stores that are open on Sundays will operate from noon to 5 p.m. that day. The changes are expected to generate nearly $800,000 in additional revenue in the 2011-13 biennium.

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — New fees for state parks take effect July 1 — Starting July 1, visitors to state parks will need to display a Discover Pass in their vehicle. It will be $10 for a day pass or $30 for a year of entries with the money going to keep the 117 state parks open.

►  In today’s NY Times — Budget cutters vs. the law (editorial) — The last three years have been the hardest for state budgets since the depression, and virtually every state (including Washington) has cut services. Most often, it is the poor, the young, and the elderly who are most hurt, as 34 states cut K-12 education, 31 health care, and 29 elderly and disabled services. In state after state, the courts have been forced to step in and stop the most ravaging budget-slashers.  When lawmakers ignore their fundamental responsibilities, it’s good to know there is a judge who will step in.




►  In today’s News Tribune — Boeing adds nearly 3,000 to payroll — The accelerating production pace at Boeing’s Puget Sound aircraft assembly plants has helped add nearly 3,000 workers to the company’s Washington payrolls in the last five months, company records show. The company had 76,457 workers on its Washington employment rolls as of May 26, the company said. That’s 2,840 more than Boeing employed in Washington on Dec. 23 of last year, the last count Boeing took before year’s end.

►  In the Daily News — Weyerhaeuser to sell Northwest Hardwoods unit — Weyerhaeuser has agreed to sell its 1,000-employee Northwest Hardwoods unit, which includes a 140-worker mill in Longview and about 400 employees at its Federal Way headquarters and mills in Centralia, to a private equity firm. The buyer, American Industrial Partners, is unlikely to cut back the workforce because the woeful housing market is expected to improve in the next three to five years, says one industry analyst.

►  In today’s Kitsap Sun — Union files unfair labor practice charge against The Doctors Clinic — Contract talks between The Doctors Clinic and United Food & Commercial Workers Local 21 have taken a turn for the worse, with the union on Monday filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the health care provider.

►  Today’s shocker at — Seattle Chamber of Commerce: Thumbs down on sick leave plan — The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday it does not support a compromise, paid sick leave proposal unveiled by advocates and some business interests at City Hall this week.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Fortunately, there are plenty of actual businesses (plus public health and worker advocates, of course) who SUPPORT this proposal.




►  At AFL-CIO Now — Proposed NLRB rule change draws wide support — The National Labor Relations Board’s modest, common-sense proposed rule to remove roadblocks for workers who want to vote on whether to form a union has drawn praise from working men and women, political leaders and activists around the country.

►  At AFL-CIO Now — Anti-worker conservatives go nuts-o over simple rule change — From the way the Chamber of Commerce and some Republicans are responding, it’s like the sky is falling — kind of like Chicken Little on steroids — with a message that’s become a broken record.

►  At AFL-CIO Now — A good case against Boeing (by Kate Bronfenbrenner) — Business, politicians and the media have made much over the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against Boeing, but the outrage has been misdirected. The board was right to bring the complaint, because the law is on its side, and such complaints are a step in the right direction. The mission of the NLRB includes discussing, and ruling on, employers’ use of production shifts to retaliate against union activity. If the NLRB did not take on such cases, it would cede to employers unilateral control over a large swath of the U.S. workplace. In holding Boeing accountable, its members are taking on a trend that should have been dealt with long ago.




►  In The Hill — Lawmakers grumble over secret Biden debt-limit talks — The growing restlessness comes as Biden and six members of Congress are aiming to release the framework of a bipartisan deal by July 1 that will lift the nation’s debt ceiling while cutting trillions of dollars from the budget.

►  At Politico — Democrats fret over White House deal-making — House Democrats are once again afraid they’re about to get sold out (again) by a president from their own party — this time on debt-limit negotiations with Republicans.

EDITOR’S NOTE —  Take Action!™ today at The Stand — Urge Biden: Don’t target federal employees in budget talks




►  In today’s Seattle Times — Murray rewrite of law aims to keep work program in sync with jobs — Sen. Patty Murray has filed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, the main federal vehicle for moving Americans from unemployment rolls onto payrolls, the first substantial update to the law since its passage in 1998. Among the key proposed changes is to beef up training for employed workers who want to upgrade their skills, to promote subsidies to encourage companies to hire and to better track what taxpayers are getting for their $3 billion-a-year investment.

►  In today’s LA Times — Union files for election at Ikea’s first U.S. factory –The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers submits signature cards from what it believes is a majority of the eligible employees at the Danville, Va., factory. Workers at the plant have complained about low wages, discrimination and long working hours. The union and Ikea had begun working toward a cooperative election process. But in the last month discussions between the two sides have fallen apart and the union filed for its election without notifying the company. (Also see last April’s LA Times story, Ikea’s U.S. factory churns out unhappy workers.)

►  At The Hill — Leading House Democrats say Social Security cuts are a non-starter — “You want a fight?” Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said during a press conference in the Capitol. “If anybody in this building wants to take on Social Security — privatize it, change the benefits by altering the consumer price index or by any other method — know this: You’ve got a fight on your hands.”

►  At TPM — Top expert likens disputed health reform study to push poll — One of the nation’s foremost experts on survey writing compared McKinsey & Co.’s controversial health care study to a push poll, calling into further question whether its results can be trusted as even a snapshot of employer sentiment. The study concluded that employers are fairly likely to rescind insurance benefits after the health care law takes full effect in 2014.

►  At TPM — Democratic senators look to put immigration back on front burner — Comprehensive immigration reform is unlikely to pass this Congress, but Democrats are doing their best to keep the issue in the national conversation.


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