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Labor attacked, state workers blamed, college privatized…



► In today’s NY Times — Labor rights, under Republican attack (column by Columbia, Fordham and Northeastern University professors) — Backed by a well-financed lobbying and publicity offensive, Republicans are using a recent labor-law complaint against Boeing to achieve a radical goal that goes far beyond the legal issues in the case: unraveling workers’ rights that have been part of the fabric of our social contract since the Great Depression.

Boeing has an opportunity at trial and in administrative and court appeals to disprove these allegations. It also may avoid the general counsel’s proposed remedy — an order restoring the aircraft production in question to Washington — if it can show that the order would be unduly burdensome.

But for Republicans, the legal process is beside the point. Their goal is to extinguish decades-old workers’ rights.




Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, speaks at the Oct. 13 rally for Good Jobs Now at Seattle's Westlake Park.

► At Slog — Labor leaders, rallying at Westlake, urge unity with Occupy Seattle — The crowd cheered: “What do we want? Jobs! When do we want ’em? Now!” The rally was much more focused on connecting economic frustration to targeted political action than others at Westlake recently, with speakers repeatedly calling on the crowd to vote against Initiative 1125, which is being bankrolled by wealthy developer and Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman. It could delay major state road building projects while also derailing plans for light rail to Bellevue.

► At — Labor rally joins Occupy Seattle, splits to protest Mitt Romney — Members of King County’s labor council rallied to call for job growth in the Seattle park that’s been home to Occupy Seattle protests. Labor leaders say they did not want to co-opt the grassroots Occupy movement but saw a rally as an opportunity for both groups.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Police make arrests at Occupy Seattle protest — Ten protesters were arrest last night after they refused to leave a tentlike structure set up in Seattle’s Westlake Park. Amid chanting and beating drums, saxophone music, cheers and jeers, the 10 protesters were removed from the tent and arrested.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Occupy Seattle and the resonance of democracy (Lance Dickey column) — Frustrations with the economy and government are bringing new people and skills into the political process. A tally of immediate outcomes will not measure what has been started.

Washington’s Occupy protests on Facebook: Occupy BellinghamOccupy OlympiaOccupy Seattle (website) – Occupy SpokaneOccupy TacomaOccupy Tri-CitiesOccupy WenatcheeOccupy Yakima

► At AFL-CIO Now — Bloomberg using clean-up ruse to shut down Occupy Wall Street — The New York City mayor is trying to shut down Occupy Wall Street by ordering the  protesters who have been camped out for more than three weeks in Zuccotti Park out of the park at 6 a.m. this morning while authorities “clean up” the park. Protesters will then face a new set of rules that effectively end the peaceful 24/7 vigil against Wall Street greed.

► Update from AP — City postpones eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters

► In today’s Washington Post — Occupy protests reveal liberal tensions — It is unclear whether this sudden burst of energy on the American left will help Obama and other Democrats. The protests are gaining steam around a set of economic grievances and a wariness of both parties’ reliance on corporate campaign money — and Democratic officials are wondering how, or whether, they can tap into a movement that seems fed up with all brands of partisan politics.




Some 10,000 rallied in Olympia on April 8 to oppose Wisconsin-style attacks on public employees.

► In today’s Olympian — State figures show cost of employee pay is lower — New Washington state figures show that the cost of paying state employees shrank as a share of government costs over the past decade. Total compensation fell from 20.5% of general-fund outlays in 2002 (the year state employees were granted full collective bargaining rights) to 18.2% in the year ending in June. The decline was in total pay and benefits for both higher-education and general-government workers. The trend was in line with a report released the same day by labor researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, which cited several federal data sources, found public-sector pay shrank from 1992 to 2009 as a percentage of state budgets around the country, although it has been flat since about 2002.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Housing bust caused deficits, not public-sector contracts, study finds — When housing prices began to take a dive, revenues to state and local governments plummeted. Housing construction shuddered to a halt, , and the businesses of suppliers and  service-providers to contractors were forced into downturn. And many states continued to cut taxes, causing a perfect storm of budget woes for the states. That’s the conclusion of a study released today.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Work continues to address safety issues at Monroe prison after murder of corrections officer — Corrections officials were ordered to make changes, mostly concerning how prison employees are given directions for their posts and how they document the movement of inmates and other staffers around the prison. Progress has been made, but corrections officials aren’t done fixing problems at the prison, says L&I.

► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers can’t jeopardize public safety in budget cuts (editorial) — Filling what is expected to be a $2 billion budget gap by the time lawmakers come to town on Nov. 28, will, indeed, be brutal. But lawmakers must draw a line on public safety. Budget cuts that jeopardize residents in their homes and corrections officers behind the prison wall simply go too far.




► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — ILWU supporters protest as train delivers grain to EGT terminal — For the second time in two weeks, a freight train delivered grain to the EGT terminal at the Port of Longview without incident Thursday afternoon, though 70 longshore union protesters demonstrated nearby at the old Long-Bell log pond. “We’re sending a message to the community that we’re having a peaceful protest,” Local 21 President Dan Coffman said.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — ILWU objects to proposed language of ballot measure to recall sheriff — The longshore union is challenging the proposed recall ballot for Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson, saying it doesn’t state the union’s charges against Nelson forcefully enough and makes the union’s allegations seem “petty.”

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Swedish, Providence partnership faces state, federal review

► In today’s Seattle Times — King County leaders’ role model: Toyota — Early returns are promising. Employees have already found ways to shorten tasks in several departments. In part thanks to efficiencies, County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a 2012 budget that preserves almost all county services. His willingness to hire strong subordinates and innovate has won him praise from civic groups, union leaders and Republicans. It’s as if he’s doing what voters expected from Barack Obama: Turn down the rhetoric, reach across the aisle, wring more efficiency out of government.

► In today’s Seattle Times — WSDOT reunites girls with lost Teddy Bear — “She’s been crying. She got him when she was 2 1/2 and when her father was deployed,” said the 6-year-old’s mom. “Daddy Bear is her best friend. He goes to sleep with her, he goes to school with her and he’s there to talk to.  She’s talked about him a lot, and says she wishes Daddy Bear was here when she first wakes up.”  On Thursday, two state Department of Transportation employees made sure Daddy Bear would find his way home.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Costco is second largest donor to an initiative — ever — Costco’s $11 million in contributions to Initiative 1183, the liquor privatization initiative, make it the second-largest single donor to a ballot measure in state history. The largest was the American Beverage Association, which last year contributed $16.7 million to support I-1107, a measure voters approved that repealed legislative tax increases on candy, gum, bottled water and soda pop.




► In The Nation — Obama is wrong, wrong, wrong about free trade (John Nichols column) — President Obama is preparing to mangle his jobs message signing free-trade agreements that are opposed by unions, by Democrats and by the “99 Percenters” who recognize that the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama approach to trade policy has harmed the interests of working people in the United States and abroad. Why? Because, according to Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), the president “is going to give in to the Washington elites, once again” because “the big companies and the big banks want” the new trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

► In today’s NY Times — Resistance from union in Ford vote — Voting by Ford’s unionized workers on a new contract has been unexpectedly negative, signaling a rejection of its hold-the-line pay provisions and raising at least the possibility that Detroit’s fragile labor peace could be disrupted by a strike.




A vanity plate for an admissions director at EDMC's Online Higher Education Division in Phoenix.

► At Huffington Post — Goldman Sach’s predatory pursuit of college students, revenue –After the Wall Street goliath partnered with Education Management Corp., a for-profit higher education corporation, employees soon noticed a drastic shift in culture. Longtime admissions managers were replaced, ushering in an era in which recruiters were endlessly hounded by supervisors about hitting weekly enrollment targets. The admissions staff nearly tripled, requiring expanded floor space to accommodate a sales force of more than 2,600 across the country. Management handed down revamped telemarketing scripts designed to prey on poor and uneducated consumers, honing in on their past mistakes in life as a ploy to convince them that college would solve all their problems, according to conversations with more than a dozen current and former Education Management Corp. employees.


“You’d probe to find a weakness,” said Brian Klein, a former admissions employee who worked for three years at Argosy University Online, one of four major colleges operated by EDMC. “You basically take all that failure and all those bad decisions, and you spin it around and put it right back in their face as guilt, to go to this shitty university and run up all of this debt.”


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