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Captive veterans at JBLM, SPEEA talks, Bring Jobs Home…

Tuesday, June 26, 2012




► At In These Times — Veterans forced to attend anti-union meetings on Army base — Jason Croic is a Marine combat veteran who served 28 months in Iraq. When he came home, he found a job working for $18 an hour as a mechanic on Stryker vehicles for General Dynamics Land Systems in Fort Lewis, Washington. Croic now has a new combatant, as his employer is attempting to stop him and his fellow contractors from joining Local 286 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

For the last six months, Croic and 120 of his co-workers, nearly half of whom are veterans, have been forced to attend anti-union meetings, in which General Dynamics managers make them watch films about why unions are bad. General Dynamics has routinely told workers that if they vote to join union that it will likely lead to General Dynamics losing their contract with the U.S. Army. On several occasions, General Dynamics has even flown some of their top corporate officials out on Lear jets from their corporate headquarters in Sterling Heights, Michigan, to explain to the workers why they shouldn’t join a union.

General Dynamics has also been telling workers in the captive-audience meetings that it will appeal any election decision and drag out the process of certification. Thus, even if the workers win the election, their taxpayer-funded company could find a way of using the courts to stop the election from being certified. For many of these Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, it appears the freedoms they fought for don’t include the freedom to join a union.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Swift agreement not expected in SPEEA talks — Contract talks between Boeing leaders and the union representing engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound region are “productive,” but reaching a deal early isn’t likely. With a contract that expires Oct. 6, SPEEA’s executive director, Ray Goforth, said expediting the process is possible but not probable. Union leaders have begun holding meetings with SPEEA’s 22,765 engineers and technical workers in the region to brief them on negotiations.

► In the PS Business Journal — In a man’s world, 3 women run Boeing jet plants— Among the engineers advancing American industry, only one in five is a woman. Yet at Boeing, over the past two years, female engineers have taken charge of building three of the company’s five jetliners.




► In today’s Columbian — Hunger strike protesters make stop in Vancouver — Protesters who have launched a hunger strike against postal service cuts demonstrated outside of a Vancouver post office Monday. One of the hunger strike participants, David Yao of Seattle, said he was choosing not to eat in protest because, “Congress is starving the postal service by pumping money out of it.” He also opposes the plan to eliminate first-class, next-day delivery.

ALSO at The Stand — Local hunger strikers to protest Congress starving the USPS — They will protest today in Pasco, Wednesday in Wenatchee, and Thursday in Seattle.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Plenty of asparagus, few workers to pick it — Just as the industry has made a comeback after a decade of getting clobbered by cheap imports, growers left about 10% of the crop in the fields for the first time anyone could remember due to a labor shortage. And it’s just the beginning, growers fear, as the summer cherry harvest — predicted to be a record crop this year, and the most labor intensive of all — kicks into gear this week.




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Franklin County judge overturns roll-your-own cigarette tax — Roll-your-own cigarettes won’t be hit with a 15-cent tax in Washington when the new law takes effect Sunday, ruled Franklin County Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner. The judge granted a preliminary injunction Monday after a hearing in Pasco where plaintiffs claimed the tax violated state law.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Republicans appoint Rivers to replace Zarelli — As widely expected, state Rep. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) was appointed Monday to fill out the term of former Sen. Joe Zarelli, who stepped down last month.

► In today’s News Tribune — $47 million from feds will replace two schools at JBLM

EDITOR’S NOTE — Retiring Rep. Norm Dicks continues to deliver for the State of Washington.




► At Huffington Post — AFL-CIO to highlight outsourcing of jobs, pressure candidates in coming weeks — In all, the AFL-CIO hopes to host nearly 100 events around the country by mid-July, praising certain politicians while criticizing others. Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s government affairs director, said the campaign’s primary goal is to highlight a persistent economic problem while showing support for a bill addressing outsourcing sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and backed by President Obama.

ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO launches ‘Bring Jobs Home’ campaign

► At AFL-CIO Now — Two bills would help ‘Bring Jobs Home’ — “We need to be exporting our products, not our jobs,” says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) who recently introduced the Bring Jobs Home Act. Union and community activists are building support for that bill, as well as the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, as part of the AFL-CIO’s Bring Jobs Home campaign.

► In today’s Huffington Post — Romney ‘outsourcer-in-chief,’ new Obama ads say




► In The Hill — Supreme Court to deliver healthcare decision on Thursday — The final countdown has begun for the landmark decision on President Obama’s healthcare law. The justices will render judgment on the controversial law on Thursday, ending months of speculation about a ruling that could have far-reaching implications for the 2012 election and beyond. The ruling will come shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday (7 a.m. Pacific time).

► At Huffington Post — Obamacare and the mandate hype (by Ethan Rome) — Soon we’ll know whether the Roberts corporate court will use the ACA decision to side with consumers and small businesses or bow to big corporations and the Republican Party. A nation is watching and waiting.

► At TPM — Public option advocates to push Medicare for all if court strikes down Obamacare — The progressive activists who put the public option at the heart of the health care reform debate in 2009 and 2010 will return in 2012 to press Democrats to back a single-payer system if the Supreme Court throws out the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.




► In today’s NY Times — Citizens United (editorial) — The Supreme Court examined the Arizona immigration law in minute detail, but when it came to revisiting the damage caused by its own handiwork in the 2010 Citizens United case, it couldn’t be bothered. In a single dismissive paragraph on Monday, the court’s conservative majority refused to allow Montana or any other state to impose limits on corporate election spending and wouldn’t even entertain arguments on the subject.

It is not as if those five justices could be unaware of the effects of Citizens United. They could hardly have missed the $300 million in outside spending that deluged the 2010 Congressional elections or the reports showing that more than $1 billion will be spent by outside groups on Republican candidates this year, overwhelming the competition.

If the justices were at all concerned about these developments, they could have used the Montana case to revisit their decision and rein in its disastrous effects. The only conclusion is that they are quite content with the way things worked out.


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