You’re a national model, back on the ballot, Walmart flash mob…

Monday, September 9, 2013




► In the NY Times — AFL-CIO has plan to add million of nonunion members — AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka has a bold plan to reverse organized labor’s long slide: let millions of nonunion workers — and perhaps environmental, immigrant and other advocacy groups — join the labor federation. …

Many within labor are looking to Washington State as a model because of all the union community activity there. Unions, women’s groups, immigrant organizations and faith groups — joined by retiree and gay groups — successfully pushed Seattle’s City Council to enact a 2011 law requiring paid sick days. Labor in turn played a major role in persuading the state legislature to enact a same-sex marriage law and then in defeating a referendum aimed at overturning the law. In recent months, Washington’s unions have worked with black ministers to fight foreclosures and find jobs for former prisoners. A Teamsters local is providing legal services and lobbying muscle to Seattle’s taxi drivers. Unions and MomsRising are pressing Tacoma’s City Council to enact a paid sick days law. Unions and community groups have joined forces to try to create the nation’s highest minimum wage through a referendum in SeaTac, a community south of Seattle.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — AFL-CIO moves to address diversity, protect women, align with community (by Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council)

► In The Hill — Some unions push back against labor ties to progressive groups — IAFF President Harold Schaitberger said he sees “great value” in labor finding different groups to align with politically. But the federation needs to stick to representing workers rather than become a social movement itself. Others in labor, especially in the building and construction sectors, have aggressively pushed back against the proposal. Those unions have clashed repeatedly with environmental groups over building the Keystone XL pipeline.

► In The Hill — Labor presses for Obamacare fix — The labor federation has been having internal deliberations in Los Angeles on how to best draft a resolution addressing unions’ concerns over President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment. Some senior union officials want to shed more light on the issue as labor presses the White House to fix the law.

► At TPM — Sen. Elizabeth Warren slams Supreme Court as ‘subsidiary of big business’ — Warren warned union leaders at the AFL-CIO convention of a “corporate capture of the federal courts,” citing an academic study that counted the five conservative-minded Supreme Court justices among the “top 10 most pro-corporate justices in half a century.”




► In the Seattle Times — Court order means $15 minimum wage will be on SeaTac ballot this fall — SeaTac voters will get to decide whether the city should increase its minimum wage to a nation-leading $15 per hour, after the state appeals court on Friday reversed a judge’s ruling that voided signatures needed to qualify the measure for November’s ballot. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines, which has fought in court to keep the measure off the ballot, said the company is still considering its legal options.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Internal reviews rank Puget Sound VA health system low in quality — The VA Puget Sound Health Care System’s quality reviews have lagged far behind those of the top performers in the Department of Veterans Affairs health-care network, according to internal evaluations. “The turnover is bad,” said Tim Strako, president of AFGE Local 3198, which represents VA Puget Sound employees. “Workloads and lack of staff is probably the biggest thing I hear from our people on the front lines.”

► In the Columbian — Union activists protest ‘right-to-work’ talk — About 30 union activists occupied a classroom event being held at Clark College’s Columbia Tech Center campus last week until police were called in to disperse the crowd. Protesters tried to block attendance to an event supporting “right-to-work” legislation hosted by Portland-based stink tank the Cascade Policy Institute and the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Here’s a video clip posted by the Freedom Foundation — and circulated via email entitled “Thugs won’t silence us” — in which protesters chant and urge the hosts to identify which corporations were funding their efforts. The conference is part of a national effort to rebrand “right-to-work” as “employee freedom.” But it’s the same law, banning unions and employers from including union-security clauses in their contracts that guarantee all employees pay their share for union representation.

► In today’s News Tribune — Jail operations shortfall leads to 16 deputy layoffs — The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is laying off 16 corrections deputies and demoting four corrections officers because of a $5 million shortfall in the county jail’s operations.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Snoqualmie Valley teachers OK contract — Teachers voted 174 to 121 to accept the contract. They will get a 2% raise each year of the three-year contract.

► In the Columbian — Decline of unions has a steep price (by Aaron Corvin) — If you’re part of the working poor or a member of the fading American middle class, you’re well aware that your income — the lifeblood of building a life in this world — has either stalled or flat out taken a nosedive. New ground-breaking research shows the decline of unions — once assigned a modest role in explaining wage inequality — has actually played a significant role in this troubling trend.




► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Moving on transportation (editorial) — The takeaway for the Senate majority is if they don’t find common ground and agree to a special session before Dubai (where Boeing is expected to announce its 777X final assembly site on Nov. 17), and Boeing opts for the Palmetto State, they become the fall guy. But a pox on everyone’s house if political posturing scuttles a state transportation plan. It’s too critical to the public interest and a vibrant economy. But no package can be held hostage to a partisan wish list and deal killers such as “an open dialogue on prevailing wage.” Most assume these throwaways were inserted to assuage red-meat caucus members. But keep-em-happy politics can’t be allowed to sidetrack the package goal.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Special session? For Senate leaders, only eyes roll (by Jim Camden) — Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said he wants to hear what folks have to say before deciding on a special session. This may be bad news for Gov. Inslee and Keep Washington Rolling. By the time the great thoughts from the statewide “listening tour” are compiled and translated into something resembling a real proposal, it could be late October. The construction season would be all but over and the holidays approaching. With the 2014 session just a couple of months away, the urge to wait will be strong. In politics as in physics, a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

ALSO at The Stand — Coalition urges special session to fix transportation problems, plus Attend transportation forums to support funding package




► In today’s NY Times — Immigration reform falls to the back of the line — House Republicans are likely to postpone consideration of an immigration overhaul until the end of the year, if not longer, even as advocates are preparing for an all-out, urgent push this fall to win their longstanding goal of a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants here illegally.

► In today’s NY Times — Mindlessly gutting food stamps (editorial) — House Republicans blame the needy for the lingering costs of recession.





The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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