WSLC outlines Economic Recovery Agenda

The following is an excerpt from the 2013 Legislative Agenda for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the state.

OLYMPIA (Jan. 16, 2013) — Four years after the start of the “Great Recession,” our national and state economies continue on a slow, steady path to economic recovery. The 2012 elections — in Washington state and across the country — were a mandate for choosing the high road to economic growth. Voters supported investing in jobs, creating a fairer tax system, protecting the social safety net, and restoring a sense of shared prosperity. Voters rejected the low-road path leading to more austerity measures and attacks on the social safety net.

Congress’ recent agreement to raise some revenue from the most wealthy among us acknowledges those election results, but it’s only a start. At both the national and state levels we need more revenue and we need greater public investment in jobs to leverage economic recovery and to help rebuild the middle class.

Likewise, the 2012 passage of the “Jobs Now” infrastructure package in Washington state was a good start, but our state needs to significantly increase its emphasis on job creation and restoring fairness to the most regressive tax system in the country. And it must do this while raising the revenue necessary to provide the quality, accessible public services that our citizens need and demand.

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will pursue a 2013 Economic Recovery Agenda this legislative session. These measures will put us on the high road to recovery by investing in jobs, increasing revenue, and protecting families through strengthening our social and workplace safety nets.


  • Working with business, environmental and local governments to develop a robust $20 billion-plus funding package as a down payment to address our critical transportation needs;
  • Supporting a publicly owned Washington Investment Trust advancing construction loans to local government entities for public infrastructure projects;
  • Investing in Washington businesses and Washington workers by providing a preference for in-state goods and services in our state procurement process; and
  • Preventing worker misclassification and wage theft that are costing millions in lost tax dollars and harming both workers and employers who play by the rules.


  • Pushing for full implementation of Medicaid Expansion and the federal Basic Health Option in 2013 for Washington’s low-wage workers, which will free up an estimated $225 million in the state’s 2013-15 budget, which will help our economy grow by creating an estimated 10,000 new jobs;
  • Improving workplace health and safety standards, many of which have not been updated since the 1970s;
  • Promoting transparency and accountability in our state workers’ compensation system, the safety net for injured workers.

In addition to the items listed in this agenda, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will be supporting its affiliated unions’ efforts to advance legislation of specific interest to their industries and trades.

Get more details on the WSLC 2013 Economic Recovery Agenda here. Widely considered to be the “voice of labor” in Washington state, the WSLC directly represents and provides services for some 500 local unions and councils, representing approximately 400,000 rank-and-file members.

You can stay informed about the progress of this agenda and other legislative issues that affect Washington’s working families by joining The Stand/WSLC email list (if you haven’t already.) You’ll receive the WSLC’s weekly Legislative Update each Tuesday during the legislative session that began this week, plus regular daily updates on legislative and other news from The Stand.

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