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Labor Day roundup, Seattle sick leave, ILWU disaffiliates…

Tuesday, September 3, 2013




► From UPI — Gallup poll: Majority in U.S. approve of unions — A majority of U.S. adults approve of labor unions, with support growing in the past year but still well below the historical average, the survey found. It indicated 54% approved of organized labor — 2 points above the 2012 figure but 8 points below the historic average, and 6 points above the all-time low of 48% in 2009.

oly-thurston-labor-day-picnic► In today’s Olympian — Labor council serves up burgers, corn and camaraderie at Centralia picnic — Hundreds of people gathered at George Washington Park in Centralia on Monday for the Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council’s annual Labor Day picnic.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 2nd Annual Labor Day picnic in Kennewick (photo gallery)

► In today’s Seattle Times — Labor recharges with annual picnic — For some local workers, Monday’s annual Labor Day picnic in Seattle was a day of respite — a time to relax and recharge after wage protests, boycotts and other labor-related issues that have made news in recent weeks.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Amid struggle, local union members celebrate Labor Day — Rising technical automation and internal strife threaten union membership nationwide, but local labor leaders said Monday their voice and their solidarity remain strong in Cowlitz County.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Plenty of reasons to care about Labor Day (by Kyle Mackay) — Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.” That is what we celebrate on Labor Day. As you enjoy the last day of the holiday weekend, I encourage you to take a moment to truly understand what it’s all about.

► In the Washington Post — A comeback for labor (byE.J. Dionne) — The genius of the labor movement has always been its insistence that if the law genuinely empowered workers to defend their own interests, the result would be a more just society requiring fewer direct interventions by government. This Labor Day could be remembered as the moment when that idea rose again.




psbj-seattle-sick-leave► In the P.S. Business Journal — Year-old Seattle sick leave law yields some surprises — A year into Seattle’s paid sick leave law, business owners are finding that neither has the sky fallen, nor has a triumphant new day for workers dawned. In Seattle’s restaurant industry, one of the main targets of the law that took effect last Sept. 1, some eateries have had to raise prices — though not dramatically. And many are not seeing hordes of workers take sick leave, due largely to kitchen culture and workers not willing to miss a day’s tips.

► In the Seattle Times — Seattle School District, teachers union have tentative agreement — Seattle teachers will vote Tuesday afternoon on a tentative contract agreement announced Sunday. If teachers approve the agreement, school can start as scheduled Wednesday for the more than 50,000 students projected to enroll this year.

► In the Tri-City Herald — Wage freezes coming to end at Tri-City colleges   — Columbia Basin College’s full-time faculty and nonunion employees are getting their first wage increase in five years.

benton-don-signs-up► In today’s Columbian — Benton’s ballyhooed management experience is hazy — Don Benton traded on his experience managing his own company to land a top job in local government. But it’s difficult to say just how much managing he did there. The company’s main employees appear to be Benton and his wife. Not only that, the company’s biggest disclosed client is Benton’s Senate campaign.




► At Crosscut — Lawmakers talking transportation — again — A current transportation revenue-and-reform proposal from the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus falls short on two counts: It will not raise enough money to extend State Route 167 in Pierce County all the way to the Port of Tacoma, and it won’t provide enough cash to improve State Route 509 in Pierce and King counties.

ALSO at The Stand — Attend transportation forums to support funding package

WA_healthplanfinder► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State ramping up health exchange — Adults and families who don’t have health insurance and want to buy it will be able to shop for it and compare prices online through the state’s new health exchange starting on Oct. 1.

ALSO at The Stand — Kreidler, health insurers reach deal; Exchange options expand

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Call center will answer questions on health care — Starting today, Washington residents can call the state Health Benefit Exchange’s customer support program before they enroll in new health insurance options. Trained representatives will be available to answer questions about health coverage options and what financial help is available. Assistance is available in 175 languages between 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays at 1-855-923-4633 or




ILWU-logo-13► In the Oregonian — Longshore union pulls out of AFL-CIO, citing attacks at Northwest grain terminals — The West Coast longshore union is pulling out of the national AFL-CIO, citing “attacks” in which the umbrella organization’s members blatantly cross picket lines at Northwest grain terminals. In a three-page letter sent Thursday, ILWU President Robert McEllrath told AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka the ILWU would sever its 25-year affiliation with the federation, cutting formal ties because organization members sabotaged dock workers. The ILWU pullout portends more turmoil on the West Coast waterfront and resulting disruptions in international trade. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain called the longshore pullout discouraging, but said, “We’ll continue to support our brothers and sisters in the ILWU. They’ve been a good affiliate of ours.”

► In The Hill — Labor union frustration boils over with president on Obamacare — Labor has watched with growing annoyance as the White House has backed ObamaCare changes in response to concerns from business groups, religious organizations and even lawmakers and their staffs. They say they don’t understand why their concerns so far have fallen of deaf ears.

► At Real Clear Politics — Labor leaders, White House discuss Obamacare fixes — Calling the health care law “a major step in the right direction,” Trumka repeated Obama’s concession that any major statute in recent memory has included “glitches” that had to eventually be ironed out by the executive and legislative branches.

► In The Hill — Trumka predicts no government shutdown — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka predicts Republicans won’t force a government shutdown in the fall’s federal spending battles because, if nothing else, it would harm their political donors.

► In the Washington Post — 401(k)s are replacing pensions. That’s making inequality worse. — The percentage of workers participating in all employer-based retirement plans declined over the past couple decades, across all age groups. That’s because the top-earning people are choosing to put a lot more money away, while those who earn less can’t afford to.




tom-new-office► At — Familias Unidas — If Senator Rodney Tom had foregone the plush corner office and remained a member of the Democratic Caucus, the senate committee arrangements would have been such that the Dream Act he supported would have passed along with the budget that he helped negotiate. It is more than plausible that Rodney Tom would have seen more of his stated agenda passed if he had not crossed the aisle to be Majority Leader.

At the peak of the harvest season, there are about 90,000 migrant farm workers in Washington state who make an average of $8,600 per year. They live in camps whose conditions range from liveable to vile and they have no access to the legal, social and political capital that those in the middle class and above take for granted. They are often subjected to brutal working conditions and abusive treatment. The Dream Act would have just cracked the door open for the lucky few who managed to complete high school and wade through the State Need Grant bureaucracy. It would have been a mild reform that would have provided some social mobility to someone who may have gone on to lead the radical change we really need.

Passing the Dream Act wouldn’t have changed the world, but at the end of the day it would have been worth letting go of the bigger office.


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