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AFL-CIO roundup, Alaska tries to block vote, cult of shareholder value…

Tuesday, September 10, 2013




trumka-13► In today’s LA Times — Union leader denounces corporate, judicial excess — In a fiery speech to thousands of union members at the AFL-CIO convention in downtown Los Angeles, President Richard Trumka denounced the “powerful forces in America today who want our country to be run by and for the rich.” He singled out longtime union targets Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and McDonald’s Corp., saying “their whole business model is about keeping the people who work for them poor.” He also lambasted the Supreme Court for waging a “war on democracy.”

ALSO TODAY in The Stand — Trumka: ‘Together we can build shared prosperity’ (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)

► In today’s LA Times — At AFL-CIO Convention: A diverse crowd, long journeys, high hopes — Among the 5,000 scheduled to attend were day laborers from as far away as Florida and taxi drivers from New York City. But there were also several international guests, including representatives from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, trade unionists from Pakistan and representatives from the Myanmar Federation of Trade Unions.

► At AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO condemns mass incarceration of people of color — The AFL-CIO came out strongly in favor of reforms to the U.S. prison system that would have significant benefits to communities, people of color, correctional employees and inmates who are trying to reform their lives and rejoin society.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Political action must maximize workers’ right to organize, bargain — The years-long assault on workers’ and voting rights at state and national levels by corporate special interests and their political allies means, says a resolution on political action approved Monday by delegates to the AFL-CIO 2013 Convention.

► At Buzzfeed — AFL-CIO adds transgender protections to its Constitution

► At AFL-CIO Now — Resolutions on Southern organizing, collective bargaining, other topics also pass

► In The Hill — AFL-CIO nearing formal criticism of Obamacare — The AFL-CIO Executive Council is expected to consider a resolution, subject to fierce internal debate, that will call for changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — setting up a potential floor vote this Wednesday before the convention closes. Frustration has grown within labor as the Obama administration has failed to offer a fix to temper union worries over the law.




alaska-airlines-WRA-Seatac-suit► In today’s Seattle Times — Alaska Airlines, Restaurant Assoc. ask Supreme Court to block vote on SeaTac’s $15/hour wage initiative — Alaska Airlines, Filo Foods, BF Foods and the Washington Restaurant Association have filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court for an emergency review of last week’s Court of Appeals ruling that made it possible for a proposition to increase the minimum wage in SeaTac to be placed on the November ballot. The companies are asking the state high court to hear the matter by Thursday because the ballots will be printed and mailed to voters this week.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Pickets gather outside composites plant in Port Angeles — Sixteen union pickets held signs Monday to demand a “fair contract” from Angeles Composite Technologies Inc. The high-tech manufacturing firm in west Port Angeles serves the global commercial and military aerospace markets. The IAM’s Noel Willet said the union has been trying to negotiate a contract with ACTI for 16 months.

► In today’s News Tribune — Pierce County Council supports jail layoffs — Members of a key Pierce County Council committee Monday supported laying off 16 corrections deputies to help fill a $5 million shortfall in the county jail’s operations.

jekel-messenger► At AFL-CIO Now — Seattle unionists defend Trade Adjustment Assistance from right-wing attacks — Faced with a misleading, anti-union media report and continuing attacks by a right-wing foundation against Trade Adjustment Assistance, union activists in Seattle are defending the program as a productive and worthwhile effort to help small businesses build their exports and assist displaced workers obtain career counseling, retraining and extended health care benefits during their job search. The beneficiaries of TAA “include folks laid off from hundreds of Washington companies, big and small, ranging from the service sector to manufacturing, including forest products, call centers, food processing and more,” write Caitlyn Jekel and Bill Messenger in a Seattle Times column. “In our experience, people who have lost jobs because their company has shifted jobs overseas all want the same thing: to find employment and keep their families from suffering. That’s what the TAA program helps them to do.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — That column by Jekel and Messenger also appears here at The Stand.




WA_healthplanfinder► In today’s Olympian — Many will benefit from health exchange (editorial) — In just a few weeks, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange will open for business, giving uninsured or underinsured South Sound residents and their families an array of options for health care. It’s a historic step toward a more rational and compassionate health care system for a nation blemished by 40 million Americans without insurance.

► From AP — Worker shortage cancels Washington ferry runs — Washington State Ferries ran out of workers Saturday. The (paid-subscription-only) Kitsap Sun reports dozens of runs on three routes — Point Defiance-Tahlequah, the north end of Vashon Island, and Port Townsend-Coupeville — were canceled for lack of crew. Dispatchers ran out of relief and on-call workers who were needed to fill in for regular employees on vacation or medical leave.

► In today’s Olympian — Inslee kicking off ‘Results Washington’ initiative Tuesday to promote Lean in agencies — Gov. Jay Inslee is moving closer to acting on a campaign promise to bring more efficiency — using Lean management — to state government. The first-year governor’s press office says he’ll give details Tuesday during a news morning conference.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Perhaps ferry staffing is too lean.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Home day care providers, state clash over stricter rules — Some accuse the state’s Department of Early Learning of bullying family day care providers out of the market and paving the way for the spread of larger, corporate day care centers. They point to a precipitous decline in home day cares, from 8,600 licensed businesses in 1996 to about 4,100 last year.




► In the NW Indiana Times — State judge rules Indiana’s ‘right-to-work’ law unconstitutional —  A Lake County Superior Court judge has ruled Indiana’s right-to-work law unconstitutional, but the decision doesn’t mark the end of a legal battle over the measure. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in February 2013 on behalf of members of the IUOE Local 150. The Indiana attorney general’s office said Monday that the state plans to immediately appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

LAT-fast-food-organizer► In today’s LA Times — Rousing workers to seek higher wages — Naquasia LeGrand was an apolitical fast-food worker before meeting a union organizer. Now she’s a vocal backer of a movement to double the $7.50-an-hour minimum wage.

► In the Federal Times — Postal work most dangerous federal civilian job — In terms of federal jobs, postal work is by far the most dangerous: Last year, postal employees constituted a third of all federal civilian employees in the United States who died on the job, according to preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

► In today’s Washington Post — Baucus, Camp say consensus forming in Washington on a corporate tax overhaul — The chairmen of the congressional tax-writing committees said Monday that a consensus is forming in Washington around a plan to lower rates and close loopholes for U.S. corporations. But Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said they would not proceed with a rewrite of the corporate code unless they can build support for overhauling tax laws that affect individuals as well.




walmart-shareholders► In the Washington Post — How the cult of shareholder value wrecked American business (by Steven Pearlstein) — In the recent history of management ideas, few have had a more profound — or pernicious — effect than the one that says corporations should be run in a manner that “maximizes shareholder value.” Indeed, you could argue that much of what Americans perceive to be wrong with the economy these days — the slow growth and rising inequality; the recurring scandals; the wild swings from boom to bust; the inadequate investment in R&D, worker training and public goods — has its roots in this ideology.

The funny thing is that this supposed imperative to “maximize” a company’s share price has no foundation in history or in law. Nor is there any empirical evidence that it makes the economy or the society better off. What began in the 1970s and ’80s as a useful corrective to self-satisfied managerial mediocrity has become a corrupting, self-interested dogma peddled by finance professors, money managers and over-compensated corporate executives.


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