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Rebuild America, Occupy America, Open America…



► At AFL-CIO Now — Tell your U.S. Senators: Pass the Rebuild America Jobs Act — This week, the U.S. Senate will take up the Rebuild America Jobs Act (S. 1769), which would create jobs immediately by investing $50 billion to repair and rebuild the nation’s roads, rails and airports, establish a national infrastructure bank to fund a broad range of projects and ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. All without adding a dime to the deficit.  Click here to send a message to your senators to start putting Americans back to work by passing the Rebuild America Jobs Act.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Infrastructure investment in Aberdeen builds bridges, economy — Before Senators cast their votes on the Rebuild America Jobs Act — we’re talking primarily to you, Republican lawmakers — they should read this article from the Seattle Times on how a massive bridge building project in Aberdeen, Wash., “is pumping new life into a once-thriving timber town that fell on hard times and stayed that way for years.”




► In today’s Seattle Times — Street clashes, arrests as Chase Bank CEO speaks — He was a perfect target for the Occupy Seattle movement. The top 1% of the top 1% was in town: Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. And despite a cold, relentless November rain Wednesday night, several hundred people marched to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle, where Dimon was a keynote speaker at an awards ceremony. They stood outside and chanted slogans, while people inside sipped cocktails and looked down from a reception area with curiosity. “Banks got bailed out; we got sold out,” the protesters shouted. After protesters tried to block hotel entrances by locking arms, police used pepper spray to an entrance so hotel patrons could enter or leave.

► More coverage from KING 5, The Stranger, Seattle P-I, and the LA Times.

► In today’s NY Times — Occupy Oakland protest turns violent — Tear gas hung over Oakland for the second time in two weeks after a small group of demonstrators faced off against police early Thursday following a peaceful march of thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters.

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




► At KEPR 19 — Farm workers say they were abandoned after refusing to work for $6 an hour — Nearly 60 farm workers from the Tri-Cities claim they were stranded this morning after refusing to work for less than minimum wage in Mattawa. The workers tell Action News they were bused to a Stemilt Grower’s Apple Orchard, where they were told they’d only make roughly $25 for about four to five hours of work. When they refused to pick for that amount, they say they were left without a way to get back to the Tri-Cities.

► From McClatchy — State prisoners helping pick apples during labor shortage — Even after deploying 105 prison inmates this week to help pick apples in eastern Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire says growers still need from 3,000 to 4,000 workers to help harvest before the season’s first major freeze. She defended the “one-time deal” to dispatch the male offenders from the Olympic Corrections Center in Clallam County to an orchard in Wenatchee Valley, where they began work Monday. Wiles said the employer is paying the state $22 an hour for each worker, which covers the inmate’s pay and all other logistical costs, including the security provided by seven guards, and transportation, housing and food for the prisoners.

► Which brings us to…




► In today’s Yakima H-R — As prisoners pick apples, problem goes untouched (editorial) — Having prisoners pick apples — while creatively congealing worker supply and demand — points to a situation that is seriously askew. Like it or not, the tree-fruit harvest depends on immigrant labor. But polarized positions on both sides of the immigration issue prevent any action from the federal government. The time is long past for our federal representatives of both parties to stop using immigration as red meat for their ravenous political bases.

► In The Hill — Immigration bill splits House GOP — House Republicans are split over an immigration bill that is backed by presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the measure is attracting escalating criticism from industry groups and rank-and-file members.




► In today’s Seattle Times — UW students have plan for helping higher education –Their three-pronged proposal includes: allowing colleges and universities to invest operating funds in higher-yielding investments; partly closing a tax break that gives business-and-occupation and sales tax credits to high-tech firms for research-and-development spending; and giving community and technical college districts the ability to raise money through ballot levies.

► In today’s Olympian — Backup policy to I-1183 dies — The Legislature’s proposal to turn part of the state liquor system over to the private sector died Wednesday after the state rejected both bids for taking over operation of the state’s liquor warehouse and distribution system.

► In today’s Columbian — Pridemore to run for State Auditor — Sen. Craig Pridemore announced that he will run for state auditor in the 2012 election and will begin campaigning for the post immediately, while also serving out the final year of his second four-year term.




► At Politico — Senators: Cut 100,000 postal workers — A bipartisan group of Senators unveiled legislation Wednesday to save the USPS from what Sen. Joe Lieberman called a “financial death spiral” but keeps six-day-a-week delivery while slashing 100,000 employees. Under the proposal by Sens. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the postal service also would reduce the number of post offices and implement a number of other cost-saving options. The legislation would also prohibit the postal service from ending Saturday delivery for at least the next two years.

ALSO SEE — NALC President Fredric Rolando’s statement: “Although the National Association of Letter Carriers acknowledges a number of positive provisions in the bipartisan postal reform bill unveiled today… we are very disappointed with the overall thrust of the legislation. It seems to embrace the view that we must drastically downsize the Postal Service in order to save it.”

— The American Postal Workers Union reports it is still studying the proposal.

Sign the petition to ‘Save Saturday Delivery’ (The Stand, Sept. 28)

► In The Hill — Senators pave way for tense USPS talks — The lawmakers acknowledged USPS and various other stakeholders and unions — not to mention House Republicans — will not embrace every aspect of their bill. But they characterized their legislation as the best way to ensure that regular U.S. mail service survives.




► At The Lookout — Nearly 1 in 3 jobless Americans has been out of work for a year — An analysis of government data found that 31.8% of the roughly 14 million officially counted as unemployed have been jobless for more than a year. That’s around 4.4 million — more than the population of Louisiana. Since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the problem has gotten worse. In the third quarter of that year, just 16% of the unemployed had been out of work a year or longer.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Restaurant Association, big bucks donors defeat Denver’s paid sick leave ordinance — Advocates for working families had hoped to pass a measure in local elections that would have mandated paid sick leave for low-wage workers, but on Tuesday I-300 was defeated by Denver voters, who were inundated with advertisements against it.

► In The Hill — Republicans block Dem attempt to subpoena oil company CEOs


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