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USPS rallies today, Dems mull tax hike, Colombia trade…

Today’s news links:



► Today at AFL-CIO Now — Support Postal Workers: Join today’s rallies to save 120,000 jobs — Under the guise of a “budgetary crisis,” some in Congress are going after the USPS, proposing massive cuts and layoffs — including laying off 120,000 workers, closing thousands of post offices, eliminating Saturday mail service and closing mail processing facilities. Today from 4 to 5:30 p.m., in every state across the country, members of the postal unions and community supporters will rally in a national day of action to protect the USPS.

ALSO at The Stand — Rallies across state, nation to save USPS, which lists the rallies around Washington state. Plus, see coverage in today’s Yakima H-R.




► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — ILWU launches recall effort against sheriff as national president turns himself in — The recall petition alleges that Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson’s officers have been overly aggressive against union members in policing protests. It was filed just hours after ILWU President Robert McEllrath turned himself in for arrest for allegedly blocking a grain train bound for EGT Sept. 7.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Feds seek to fine ILWU $293,000 for protests — NLRB attorneys say the estimate includes damage to rail cars and EGT property on Sept. 8, when hundreds of people broke into the terminal, spilled grain from the rail cars, broke windows at a security shack and harassed security guards. It also includes more than $76,000 in police overtime — for Sept. 7 protests and the Sept. 8 vandalism — and $66,000 in attorney fees.




► Today from AP — Democrats explore February election on tax hikes — Staff members in the Legislature have gathered information on both the timing and costs of holding such an election, even as lawmakers say it’s premature to say whether it’s an option they will pursue. Advisers to Gov. Chris Gregoire are among those that have been looking at the logistics.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Battle over more cuts brewing between governor, schools chief — State schools chief Randy Dorn didn’t reply last week to the governor’s request for ways to pare spending in public schools to help the state plug a projected $2 billion hole in its budget. He’s preparing an answer to deliver this week, and his response to where he would cut will likely be along the lines of one word – nowhere.

► In today’s News Tribune — Western State Hospital proposes discharging 150 patients — Grappling with state budget cuts, officials have proposed mothballing five wards, including two used mainly for elderly patients with dementia. Many of those patients have histories of aggressive behavior, and employees who work in those wards described daily battles with the most volatile of them who punch, kick and scratch their caregivers. Counselor James Robinson, president of WFSE Local 793, said: “If some of these patients go to a nursing home, they’re going to kill those people.”

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — TVW documentary airing tonight focuses on issues with state ferry system




► At — Poll: Liquor privatization initiative loses ground — A new Elway Poll  shows just 46% of state residents were leaning toward a “yes” vote on Initiative 1183. The same survey one month ago had support at 50% for the measure, which is being pushed by retail giant Costco.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 787 delivery is proud day for Boeing employees — Over the last four years, workers in final assembly have been forced to complete tasks out of the usual sequence due to shortages of parts. They’ve finished work that should have been done by Boeing’s suppliers, spread out across the globe. They’ve had to re-do work to accommodate changes to the design of the aircraft brought about by testing.

► Also see coverage in the LA Times and Seattle Times, and congratulatory editorials in the (Everett) Herald and Seattle Times.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Snohomish County among candidates for 737 MAX — Boeing’s Everett airliner assembly plant at Paine Field is already the hub for the company’s twin-aisle jet production, but county and state officials are working to bring the company’s new single-aisle plant here, too.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — SCC lands share of aerospace grant –Spokane Community College’s Air Washington Program – a consortium of 14 colleges, two aerospace companies and an apprenticeship committee – will be awarded a $20 million grant for education, training and services to support the aerospace industry.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Layoffs part of McGinn’s Seattle city budget — Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled his 2012 budget proposal, which calls for laying off 82 city workers and eliminating 30 unfilled positions.

► In today’s Seattle Times — King County budget: A relative bright spot — County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a 2012 budget that would preserve almost all services and add to reserves, but would reduce road crews and maintenance.




► At AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO: No Colombia trade deal until violence ends — The violence against workers is continuing in Colombia despite the labor action plan that President Juan Manuel Santos agreed to in April. Until that violence ends, the United States should not approve the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.

► In The Hill — Trumka sends Obama list of labor leaders killed in Colombia — In a letter to President Obama expressing the AFL-CIO’s opposition to the pending free-trade deal with Colombia, Trumka included a list of the 22 union leaders who have been killed in Colombia, 15 of those after the U.S. agreed to a labor action plan with the South American country in April to improve its labor rights record.

► At Huffington Post — Supercommittee! cuts anything but automatic –It is  powered by the threat that if it doesn’t come up with $1.2 trillion in savings, automatic across-the-board cuts will be instituted to reach that same goal, with half of those cuts hitting the Pentagon. Don’t believe it. The supposed across-the-board cuts aren’t slated to go into effect until Jan. 1, 2013. Put more simply: They might not ever go into effect.

► In today’s Washington Post — Senate leaders reach agreement to avoid government shutdown — Key senators clinched a compromise that would provide less money for disaster relief than Democrats sought but would also strip away spending cuts that Republicans demanded.

► In today’s NY Times — Contract talks with Ford intensify as UAW prepares for strike — The UAW told officials at Ford plants across the country over the weekend to begin forming strike committees and to distribute information to workers about a possible strike.

► At TPM — Poll: Ohio voters till against anti-union bill, but by a slimmer margin — “Support for repealing the bill in the November referendum has dropped from a 24-point to a 13-point margin. Backers of SB 5 have only six weeks to make up the difference, although public opinion appears to be moving in their direction,” says the pollster.

► In The Morning Call — Amazon warehouse workers in Pa. tell of brutal heat, dizzying pace — During the summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Yet the workers said they were pushed to work at a pace many could not sustain. Employees were frequently reprimanded regarding their productivity and threatened with termination. The consequences of not meeting work expectations were regularly on display, as employees lost their jobs and got escorted out of the warehouse. Such sights encouraged some workers to conceal pain and push through injury lest they get fired as well.




► From the Center for American Progress — As unions weaken, so does middle class — New state income data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the importance of unions to boosting incomes for all middle-class households—union and nonunion alike. The 2010 income data makes it clear that strong unions are a critical factor in creating a middle-class society. Restoring the strength of unions would go a long way toward rebuilding the middle class

► From the Center for American Progress — Six ways unions build a strong middle class — Middle-class Americans are more prosperous when more workers in our communities are organized. But today only 12% of workers are unionized — a record low. See six ways that unions build a stronger middle class.




► In today’s NY Times — Deep recession sharply altered U.S. unemployment map — The once-booming South, which entered the recession with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, is now struggling with some of the highest rates.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama proposes protecting unemployed from hiring bias — Under his jobs’ bill, it would be “an unlawful employment practice” if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person “because of the individual’s status as unemployed.”





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