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Grain deal redux, that 787 show, California leads…

Thursday, September 11, 2014




► In the P.S. Business Journal — Possible Teamster strike could hit Fred Meyer — The Fred Meyer grocery chain in the Puget Sound area could be hit by a strike by Teamsters. According to the union, contract talks between its 400 warehouse workers and Fred Meyer broke off last night, with no more talks scheduled. The contract expired on July 12. Union officials say key issues in the talks include health care and outsourcing concerns.

ALSO at The Stand — Fred Meyer warehouse talks break down

ILWU-United-Grain-lockout► At Labor Notes — Grain agreements end lockouts at Northwest ports — A hard-won contract settlement has ended the 15- and 18-month lockouts of two Longshore locals by grain companies in Portland and Vancouver, Wash. Columbia River and Puget Sound ports move over a quarter of all U.S. grain exports, including almost half of all wheat. The master grain contract was approved 88.4% by members of the five ILWU locals affected, after 80 contentious bargaining sessions spread out over two years. Although the employers attempted to bring lower standards to the Pacific Northwest agreement, the ILWU blocked the majority of objectionable terms.

► In the Sequim Gazette — Sequim city council rejects labor propositionsTwo initiatives centered on changing collective bargaining practices in the City of Sequim were unanimously declined by Sequim city councilors Monday. Karen Parker, a Sequim city resident, said proponents of the initiatives are trying to use local tax dollars because they couldn’t pass similar measures in Olympia:

This is not where I want my tax dollars spent, not on this special election. My tax dollars belong with my schools, educating my children, with my civil servants that keep my family and community safe, with my road workers keeping my roads free from road damage and so on. I do not want to be used as a political pawn wasted on frivolous causes that have no particular benefit to me or my community.

ALSO at The Stand — Cities reject group’s push for ‘right-to-work’

TCH-HAMTC-pnnl-picket► In today’s Tri-City Herald — HAMTC pickets PNNL celebration in Kennewick — Hundreds of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory workers arriving Wednesday for a 50th anniversary celebration of the lab were greeted by union workers waving signs on the sidewalk outside the Toyota Center in Kennewick. “Fifty years of shared success? It appears Battelle is unwilling to share anything,” said an information sheet prepared by the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council for the informational picket.

► At KPLU — With cuts looming, transportation officials looking at ways to streamline services — For some, the bus situation in King County is looking desperate. This month, 151,000 hours will be cut, and more cuts are coming in February.  But King County Executive Dow Constantine says he’s looking at all the players in the region — transit operators from Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties — to solve problems together.

► At IAM 751’s blog — Aerospace Machinists raise $14,000 for charity at race — Machinists 751-F’s second annual Karting Challenge at PGP Motorsports Park at Pacific Raceways in Kent raised more than $14,000. All the proceeds are going to Guide Dogs of America, which provides service dogs, and training in their use, free of charge to people who are blind or have impaired vision from across the United States and Canada.





► In the NY Times — A jet flies, with its problems never far behind — Al Jazeera network’s documentary division may not yet get a lot of attention in the United States, but “Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787” will certainly raise eyebrows. Any time you catch employees of an airplane manufacturer saying they wouldn’t want to fly on the company’s newest jet, you’re bound to make a few waves.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing denounces Al Jazeera documentary on 787 — Boeing on Wednesday denounced an Al Jazeera English documentary on the 787, calling it “neither balanced nor accurate.” Boeing’s statement said that it is “as biased a production as we have seen in some time.”

mcnerney-as-burns► At Huffington Post — At Boeing, a disconnect between engineers and executives (by Al Jazeera producer Will Jordan) — During our research into Boeing and the “Dreamliner,” we heard constantly from current and former Boeing workers at all levels about the gradual breakdown of relations between the company’s leaders and its workers. In our film, industry analyst Richard Aboulafia speaks of a “complete disconnect” between Boeing engineers and executives. In its response to our film, Boeing has told journalists it “must question the motives” of our sources, accusing them of wanting to “harm the company.” It is exactly the opposite. In every case the people that spoke to us, on and off the record, cared deeply about Boeing and felt that it had lost its way. By talking about it, they hoped to help the company get back on track.




griffith-lynne► In today’s Seattle Times — New ferries chief faces money, labor challenges — The state’s new ferries director, Lynne Griffith, takes the helm in October with old boats to fix, frayed labor relations to mend and a mission to eliminate scores of embarrassing canceled trips. Griffith was named to lead Washington State Ferries, after a 35-year career that includes positions in transit in Tacoma, Vancouver, and Atlanta. While announcing the choice, Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson also issued a memo to Gov. Jay Inslee, outlining the need for extra training and maintenance funds, as well as a union meeting to “build a culture of trust, respect, accountability and collaboration” between labor and management.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Income-tax debate pits fairness against mistrust of Legislature (by Jerry Large) — Monday, I said Washington needs a state income tax. Many of you were more than ready to discuss the idea, sharing your thoughts so civilly that I believe Washington can have a meaningful conversation about revenue and spending.




WA-15-march-bellevue► From KUOW — Labor activists take minimum wage fight to Bellevue — Labor activists are targeting the city of Bellevue in the battle for a $15 an hour minimum wage. Yesterday they marched from Seattle across the I-90 bridge, and staged a protest that stopped traffic in downtown Bellevue. The day-long march ended with about 100 people gathering at a downtown Jack In The Box. There, eight people entered a busy intersection, sat down and locked arms. Most were fast food workers from around the region.

UPDATE at The Stand — 8 arrested in WA-$14 march to Bellevue

► In today’s Minneapolis S-T– Minneapolis leaders consider $15-an-hour base wage — “We want to ensure we’re able to provide workers a better living wage to ensure we’re able to provide a better, more sustainable economic system for the people who live in our city,” said Council Member Alondra Cano.




kono-mcdonalds-franchises► At Huffington Post — Republicans go to bat for McDonald’s in fast-food fight — A legal dispute over whether McDonald’s can be held accountable for the labor law violations of its franchisees spilled into Congress on Tuesday, when House Republicans held a hearing to defend the franchise system that insulates fast-food companies from liabilities.

► At Politico — Democrats push for immigration delay — The resistance is coming from Democrats facing tough reelection bids this fall and other moderate voices in the party who say President Barack Obama shouldn’t use executive authority to ease deportations at any time. The pressure is a sign that Obama’s decision over the weekend to punt on making changes until after the election may have done little to ease the political furor over the issue.

ALSO at The Stand — Obama should act on immigration reform (by Richard Trumka)

► At Huffington Post — Walmart workers complain they can’t afford new dress code — Under the new code, workers will have to a wear a collared blue or white shirt and black or khaki pants, along with a Walmart vest the company will provide. Employees can use clothes they already own or buy new clothes anywhere they want, but they have to pay for the shirts and pants out of their own pockets.

► In today’s Washington Post — Gina Raimondo reins in Rhode Island pensions, propelling a bid for governor (editorial) — Her primary election victory is an encouraging sign that many voters, including Democrats, have woken up to the peril posed by years of reckless promises by office-holders beholden to public-employee unions. Although she endured vicious attacks from liberals accusing her of anti-labor apostasy, the real issue, she rightly insisted, is not ideology; it’s math.

► At AFL-CIO Now — 13 years after 9/11, honor the victims, help those still suffering — More than 100,000 rescue and recovery workers — including firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, building and construction trades workers and transit workers — and hundreds of thousands of other workers and residents near Ground Zero were exposed to a toxic mix of dust and fumes from the collapse of the World Trade Center. Now more than 30,000 responders are sick and many have died from respiratory diseases and other health problems.




14-WSLC-Leg-Agenda_sick-leave► At Huffington Post — Big win in California, but more work to do (by Ellen Bravo) — Six and a half million Californians will have reason to celebrate today after Governor Jerry Brown signs the Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act. For 44% of the state’s population who don’t earn a single paid sick day, this simple act will move them a step closer to catching up with the rest of the world — being able to care for themselves or a loved one without losing a paycheck or a job. California becomes only the second state in the U.S. — along with a growing number of cities (nearly a dozen including new victories in New Jersey) — to guarantee workers can earn a minimum number of paid sick days. A body of evidence now exists that shreds the opponents’ predictions of doom, showing the benefits to workers and families, to businesses and the economy.


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