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Grocery heat, PeaceHealth cuts, fast-food strike, still just a ‘dream’…

Wednesday, August 28, 2013




13-grocery-contract-July4-picket► In today’s News Tribune — Grocery workers turning up the heat on chain grocers — Union grocery workers, who’ve negotiated since March without reaching a deal for a new contract with area grocery chains, will attempt to dial up the pressure on those chains with informational pickets Wednesday. Members of UFCW Locals 21 and 367 and Teamsters Local 38 will post those pickets outside some Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer and QFC stores from Monroe to Tacoma.

ALSO at The Stand — Join picketing grocery workers TODAY!

► In today’s Seattle Times — Union activists call for boycott of 2 Seattle Hyatt hotels — The boycott is another round in a busy spring and summer of activism on behalf of low-wage service workers. That campaign has included strikes by fast-food restaurant employees, an initiative seeking a $15-an-hour minimum wage for airport workers in SeaTac and efforts to block a Whole Foods in West Seattle over union complaints.

ALSO at The Stand — Hyatt workers urge boycott of Seattle hotels

► In today’s Seattle Times — Group says it has signatures for SeaTac wage initiative — The group supporting an initiative to make wages in the city of SeaTac at least $15 an hour has submitted 250 more signatures and appealed a judge’s ruling that threw out duplicated petition signatures and removed the measure from the November ballot.

► In today’s Columbian — PeaceHealth says it will slash 500 jobs amid budget challenges — PeaceHealth, the Vancouver-based health-care system with operations in three states, said Tuesday it will cut about 500 jobs across its system through a combination of layoffs, unfilled positions and reductions in employee hours as it struggles to slash this year’s budget by more than $130 million.

ALSO see local coverage in the Bellingham Herald, (Longview) Daily News, and The Oregonian.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Huge tunneling machine off to painfully slow start — Contractors blame the delays mostly on fiberglass strands that became stuck near the cutting face of the drill. That problem is solved, but now a labor dispute has interrupted the excavation along Seattle’s waterfront.

► In today’s (Vancouver) Columbian — State grain inspectors warn they’ll leave Port of Vancouver — The state Department of Agriculture says it will soon stop providing grain inspection services at United Grain Corp.’s facility at the Port of Vancouver unless steps are taken to make it safer for its inspectors to cross picket lines to conduct their work.

► At PubliCola — Back to the drawing board for Seattle teachers — The Seattle Education Association is back at the table with the school district today trying to reach a contract agreement before next Wednesday, Sept. 4, when 50,000 students are set to start the school year. Teacher evaluations and an unpaid extra half-hour are sticking points after unions rejected the first offer.

Labor-Day-earned-it► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Unions plan picnic at park on Labor Day — The local labor unions of the Tri-Cities area will have their 2nd Annual Labor Day Picnic at Columbia Park in Kennewick from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Live music, local union show trailers, bounce house for the kids, car and bike show. The event is open to the public and the first 500 attendees get free t-shirts.

ALSO at The Stand — Celebrate, rededicate at Labor Day events — See the list of picnics and other events across the state.




► In today’s News Tribune — Report on school funding progress goes to court — A legislative committee signed off unanimously on a progress report to the state Supreme Court that spells out the details of the $982 million lawmakers added to basic education over the next two years in response to the court’s decision in what is known as the McCleary case. The report also explains how far lawmakers still have to go.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Why college grads also want the minimum wage to rise — When there isn’t room in the desired field, the college grad, saddled with rent and living expenses and the looming threat of increased interest on their student loans, looks for anything he or she can get… The cost of living, of education, of nearly everything has continued to rise. It’s about time the cost of labor should follow suit.




► At Slog — Fast-food workers call for nationwide low-wage workers strike this Thursday — It could be a little harder than usual to get a cheap burger or a corporate coffee this Thursday: Good Jobs Seattle, a campaign by the union-backed organizing group Working Washington, is calling on low-wage workers across the city and country to join a one-day low-wage worker strike. They’re striking for higher wages — $15 an hour — and the right to organize without retaliation.

ALSO at The Stand — Seattle fast-food workers will join in Aug. 29 national strike

HouseGOP-huh► At Politico — Immigration reform’s No. 1 enemy: Time — Immigration reform advocates have a new enemy: the congressional calendar. Fall’s fiscal fights have lined up in a way that could delay immigration reform until 2014, multiple senior House Republican leadership aides say, imperiling the effort’s prospects before the midterm elections.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In other words, the latest “whale of a fight” Speaker Boehner promises over the debt limit that expires in mid-October is more important than this rare opportunity to reform our broken immigration system. House Republicans will threaten to have America default on its obligations and not pay its bills in order to secure another round of sequestration-like austerity budget cuts, despite evidence that it’s killing jobs, suppressing wages and slowing our economic recovery. Lovely.

► At TPM — Big majority of Americans oppose defunding Obamacare — The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll showed that 57% of Americans disapprove of “cutting off funding as a way to stop some or all of the law from being put into place.” Only 36% said they approve the idea.

► At Huffington Post — Taxpayers dollars paid a third of richest CEOs, report finds — More than one-third of the nation’s highest-paid CEOs from the past two decades led companies that were subsidized by American taxpayers, according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies.

► In The Hill — Business worries that Postal Service will raise rates to make more revenue — Private-sector groups are growing increasingly worried that the Postal Service’s board is going to consider a broad rate increase next month, a move they say would amount to an attack on some of the agency’s best customers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Business: A solution is at hand.

► From AP — Fewer airline jobs; U.S. carriers trim ranks by 2.4% — Airline employment has dropped from last summer because of job cuts at American Airlines and regional carriers that use smaller planes.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka honors 50th anniversary of Macrh on Washington –“Today we rededicate ourselves to the dream of economic equality that so many marched for a half century ago. We will work with those who strive for prosperity for all in this great country—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or place of birth.”

MLK-march-on-washington► In today’s NY Times — The lasting power of King’s ‘Dream’ speech — Dr. King was about halfway through his prepared speech when Mahalia Jackson — who earlier that day had delivered a stirring rendition of the spiritual “I Been ‘Buked and I Been Scorned” — shouted out to him from the speakers’ stand: “Tell ’em about the ‘Dream,’ Martin, tell ’em about the ‘Dream’!” She was referring to a riff he had delivered on earlier occasions, and Dr. King pushed the text of his remarks to the side and began an extraordinary improvisation on the dream theme that would become one of the most recognizable refrains in the world.

► At Slog — 50 years ago today, MLK marched on Washington to demand $15/hour minimum wage — Adjusted for inflation, $2.00 in 1963 dollars would be worth $15.27 today. And so in a very real historical sense, one of the core demands underlying King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” was a $15 an hour minimum wage. It is a dream that has remained unfulfilled to this day.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Ensuring that every voice, and vote, counts (by state Rep. Luis Moscoso) — The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and so far this year more than 80 bills restricting voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. Fortunately, here in Washington, we are steering toward the opposite direction because we believe every vote should count and our government must be accountable to every citizen. That’s why I and some of my colleagues in the Legislature will continue fighting to get HB 1413, the Washington State Voting Rights Act.

► In today’s NY Times — The fight for voting rights, 50 years later (editorial) — As the marchers who converged on Washington 50 years ago understood, it will take a people’s movement to beat back state laws that disenfranchise the most vulnerable Americans. Congress and the courts heard the voice of the people then; it is up to this generation to make sure they hear it now.


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