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Gateway Pacific, more on Michigan, labor’s future…

Thursday, December 13, 2012




► In today’s Columbian — Coal hearing draws hundreds at Clark College — About 700 people crammed into two hearing rooms at Clark College, waiting for their turn to testify on the $600 million Gateway Pacific Terminal planned for Cherry Point in Whatcom County. (Also see coverage in the Daily News.)

► In today’s Seattle Times — Big turnout expected for coal transit-project hearing — Several thousand people will gather at the Washington State Convention Center Thursday to weigh in on plans to export Rocky Mountain coal to Asia through ports in Washington and Oregon.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Why a coal terminal deserves a chance (by NAM’s Jay Timmons and UTU’s Herb Krohn) — The Gateway Pacific Terminal would create 3,500 to 4,400 construction jobs. Operating the terminal would create 294 to 430 permanent direct jobs. Another 860 to 1,250 induced and indirect jobs would be created. These are just the beginning. The Longview and Bellingham facilities would also bring roughly $25 million in tax dollars to local communities. Our nation’s economy is still in the red zone, and exports will continue to play a major role in helping to turn things around. We urge timely approval of these projects so we can create good-paying jobs and export even more U.S. products.

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► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing employment levels off, but hiring continues — Employment at the Boeing Co. in Washington may have peaked in November. But that doesn’t mean the jet maker isn’t continuing to hire.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Assault on Walla Walla corrections officers possibly gang-related — Three officers suffered “significant injuries” in the assault Tuesday, which began in the commons area of the prison at about 1:15 p.m. Corrections officials said “multiple offenders” attacked the officers, but other prison staff intervened, and secured the unit within minutes.

► At UW’s PNW blog —  Images of labor and social justice: The art of Richard Correll — A new addition to the collection of the UW’s Labor Archives of Washington State, now on exhibit at the Special Collections Basement Lobby of the Allen Library, is the work of Richard V. (Dick) Correll. Best known for his powerful black and white linoleum cuts, etchings and woodblock prints, for most of his life he earned a living as a commercial artist in the book publishing and advertising fields while producing a large body of fine art in his own time.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Legislature: Put future benefits ahead of temporary savings (by Jerry Large) — A new report from Washington Community Action Network, “Facing Race: 2012 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity,” grades members of the Senate and House on whether their actions in the last session made life better or worse for residents who are already wrestling with significant disadvantages. The report helps readers understand how race, ethnicity or other attributes hamper the lives of some Washington residents more than others.

► In today’s Olympian — Enterprise services leaders say agency consolidations saving money— Leaders at Washington’s newest government agency, Enterprise Services, say the biggest restructuring of state agencies in 20 years is bearing fruit after one year.




► At AFL-CIO Now — No public input and signed in secret, Michigan ‘right-to-work’ for less law goes into effect in April — With as many as 15,000 people swarming the state Capitol in Lansing denouncing Snyder and the legislature for bowing to the likes of the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the extremes of the Republican Party, Snyder retreated behind closed doors to sign the legislation and, only after the fact, announced his signature.

► In today’s Washington Post — Groups vow to push ‘right-to-work’ in other states — The conservative groups that supported Michigan’s new “right to work” law vowed Wednesday to replicate that success elsewhere. But the search for the next Michigan could be difficult.

► In today’s Oakland Press — Michigan Democrats could seek ballot proposal to overturn right-to-work laws

► In the Michigan Chronicle — Big 3 automakers reportedly worried about right-to-work legislation

► In today’s Seattle Times — The right to work (for a lot less) (by Jon Talton) — In the America that was, unions played a critical role in the delicate balance that created widely shared prosperity and opportunity. Both unions and big business had their flaws and moments of over-reaching, but big business got even bigger, crowding out, killing off and buying competitors in numerous industries, and tilting the field against new competition, effective regulation and workers. As a result, ALEC, backed by consolidated industries, quasi-monopolies and cartels, writes bills such as the one passed in Michigan. And average Americans keep seeing their wealth erode and their economic mobility stymied. The echo chamber that controls much of the media has convinced millions that this is because of “union thugs.” It’s because of thugs all right, but not unions.

► In today’s Washington Post — Which path for the right? (by E.J. Dionne) — The most disturbing aspect of the Michigan power grab is what it says about where the conservative argument may go. Those willing to expand the appeal of conservatism by refreshing it will face opposition from those who would try to make new thinking unnecessary. They’d simply rig the rules to chip away at the political capacity of groups that don’t buy into conservative orthodoxy. A movement dedicated to markets should have more confidence in democracy’s free market of ideas and stop trying to distort it.


► In today’s USA Today — Union jobs build the middle class (by Richard Trumka) — Instead of asking how working people can do better, the critics say middle-class workers with good union jobs don’t deserve their hard-earned benefits. Attacks on unions, including the “right-to-work” laws, grease this downward slide. Slashing pay and silencing workers are the worst ways for businesses to profit. The right way is to recognize that when workers have a voice, everyone succeeds. Now, critics are right on one point: The world is changing, and the labor movement hasn’t done enough to adapt. That’s why we’re working closely with young people and community allies to ensure every worker has a voice on the job.




► In the American Prospect —  Alternative futures for labor (by SEIU 775NW’s David Rolf) — America’s unions and our allies must have the courage to acknowledge that the crisis we face cannot be met with old models and old tools. We must imagine an alternative future, even if we do not yet know what form it will take. We must embrace risk and failure as necessary elements of a long-term strategy for success.

► In The Nation — Walmart workers model ‘minority unionism’— A leading labor expert says the OUR Walmart campaign, which last month mounted a strike by 500 retail store employees, demonstrates the potential of an oft-debated model: what scholars call “minority unionism.”




► At AFL-CIO Now — Made in America Holiday Gift and Stocking Stuffer Guide — Check out this Made in America, union-made gift guide. Here are some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s resource site, Labor 411. Gifts include those made by members of UNITE HERE; Boilermakers; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers; Machinists; United Steelworkers; Teamsters; UAW; United Food and Commercial Workers; the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW; and United Farm Workers.




► In today’s Washington Post — At federal government agencies, survey finds lagging job satisfaction — It’s no secret that federal workers are feeling worn down. They’ve had their salaries frozen and are at the center of a partisan debate over the value of their work. A report due out Thursday, based on the largest sample ever of the workforce of 2 million, confirms a steady decline in morale and ebbing commitment.

► At Huffington Post — McDonald’s worker till makes minimum wage after 20 years — After 20 years cooking burgers and manning the fryer for the national chain, Tyree Johnson still makes just the minimum wage. That’s $8.25 an hour — or $17,000 a year for a full-time worker — in 44-year-old Johnson’s hometown of Chicago, where he works at two different McDonald’s restaurants. The CEO of McDonald’s made $8.75 million last year.


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