AFL-CIO Day 3, shorthanded ferries, where’s the hellscape, Gilded Age 2…

Wednesday, September 11, 2013




► At AFL-CIO Now — Tefere Gebre elected as AFL-CIO’s new Executive Vice President — Gebre’s election signifies a generational shift in leadership as the labor movement increases its outreach to immigrants and young workers. Gebre is 45 years old and an Ethiopian political refugee who immigrated to the United States as a teenager.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Gebre embodies AFL-CIO’s transformation (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)

► AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO supports assisting immigrant workers to become citizens, exercise their workplace rights — the AFL-CIO reaffirmed its commitment to a comprehensive immigration policy that respects workers’ rights, including a road map to citizenship. Delegates at the AFL-CIO Convention called for an immigration policy that protects U.S. workers, reduces exploitation of immigrant workers and reduces employers’ incentive to hire undocumented workers rather than U.S. workers.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Shared prosperity, good jobs, wages in convention spotlight — The three working family economics resolutions that won approval this morning center on the labor movement’s vision of shared prosperity here and around the globe, the steps needed to create good jobs, economic security and tax fairness and three dozen specific actions to raise wages and put more money into workers’ pockets.

► At Politico — Labor harks back to Occupy Wall Street in threat against Pacific trade deal — Harking back to a time when protesters occupied Wall Street, the AFL-CIO argues that the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership is no different from trade agreements of the past, which, in its view, have left the 99 percent behind.

► In The Hill — Unions draft expansive Southern strategy — Labor will embark on an expansive organizing campaign in America’s union-scarce South that, if successful, could bring about serious political upheaval.

► In today’s LA Times — Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez feels at home among union activists — Addressing AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles, Perez pledges to raise the minimum wage, protect worker rights and look after middle-class and immigrant workers.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Ferries rocked by lack of crew — The head of Washington State Ferries pledged Tuesday to increase training for deckhands, after a shortage of qualified crew canceled 31 trips last weekend. The leaders of two unions predict more shortages and delays until the state can train more entry-level deckhands to become able-bodied seamen, to meet Coast Guard quotas for skilled crew per trip. “There’s a massive shortage of deckhands and engineers,” said Dennis Conklin of the Inlandboatmen’s Union. Ferries chief David Moseley and union officials agree that missed shifts were entirely due to shortages, not any labor dispute or sickout.

► In today’s Olympian — Inslee unveils ‘Results Washington’ plan that’s short on details — Gov. Jay Inslee rolled out his “Results Washington” reform plan Tuesday that calls for a more effective and efficient state government, better schools and a stronger economy with 150,000 more jobs by 2015. But Inslee’s reform team — which purposefully left a number of gaps in its plan — is seeking the public’s help narrowing down its goals and filling in the blanks.




► At Slog — Seattle’s paid sick leave one year later: Where’s our business-killing Socialist hellscape? — Celebrating the one-year anniversary(ish) of Seattle’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance, today members of the The Main Street Alliance of Washington, a coalition representing more than 2,500 small businesses across Washington state, released a report that basically confirms that despite the business-killing socialist Hellscape promised by paid sick leave opponents, business is still booming in King County.

“I’m here to tell you that the sky didn’t fall,” Makini Howell, owner of Plum Bistro, said at a press conference held in her dining area this morning. “Offering paid sick days didn’t have a negative impact on my business… I’ve seen a 25 percent increase in business, hired seven new full time employees, started a food truck, opened a new location, expanded that location, and all without losing an employee.”




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane’s 17 fallen firefighters remembered — As the nation commemorates the thousands of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, including 343 New York Fire Department personnel, a local fire lieutenant is working to commemorate the 17 firefighters who have died in the line of duty since the creation of Spokane’s fire department in 1890.




► From AP — Top 1% in U.S. took biggest share since 1928 — The gulf between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America is the widest it’s been since the Roaring ’20s. The very wealthiest Americans earned more than 19% of the country’s household income last year — their biggest share since 1928, the year before the stock market crash. And the top 10% captured a record 48.2% of total earnings last year. … Union power has dwindled. The percentage of American workers represented by unions has dropped from 23.3% in 1983 to 12.5% last year. The changes have reduced costs for many employers. That is one reason corporate profits hit a record this year as a share of U.S. economic output, even though economic growth is sluggish and unemployment remains at a high 7.2%.

► At TPM — GOP takes on conservatives in major Obamacare test vote — House Republicans are eying a vote as early as Thursday on a gambit designed to re-declare their support for defunding Obamacare while avoiding a government shutdown.

► In today’s NY Times — A governor battles against ruinous tax cuts (editorial) — Cutting taxes and spending at a time of weak economic recovery is a losing strategy. Missouri may show that there’s a better way forward.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — “Who cares how we avoided a war and got a dictator to give up his chemical weapons if we avoided a war and got a dictator to give up his chemical weapons.”


► In The Onion — John Kerry costs defense industry $400 billion




► At AFL-CIO Now — Show it, don’t say it! 10 ways to change how people see unions — Lazy. Out of touch. Greedy. Self-serving. Thuggish. Chances are you’ve heard a union member or leader called one of these things (and in all likelihood, more than once), and it made your blood boil. The unfortunate truth is that misconceptions, stereotypes and all-out lies seem to be dominating the public discussion and perception of labor unions, even among some progressives. We in the labor movement know that unions stand for the working class as the sole and vital counterbalance to corporate greed and excess… but no one else seems to have gotten the memo.

That disconnect — between what unions actually do and what others think unions do — is the impetus behind an action session at the AFL-CIO Convention, entitled “10 Ways to Change How People See Unions.” Featuring AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, AFSCME’s Chris Policano and Brandon Weber of Upworthy’s Workonomics, this exciting session focused on reintroducing unions to America by focusing on what we actually do every day for working families.

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

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