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KapStone in court, more teachers may walk, Ex-Im costs…

Thursday, September 3, 2015




► From KIRO TV — Widow protests Darigold for safety


► From KIMA TV — Protest held at Darigold headquarters after Mabton farm worker’s death — A Yakima Valley woman is working to give farm workers more rights. One way she’s doing this is by a protest she organized in Seattle on Wednesday.




► In today’s (Longview) Daily World — KapStone files restraining order against union — Judge Stephen Warning granted KapStone a limited, three-day restraining order. He’ll hold a hearing Friday on a KapStone request to limit the union to two pickets on either side of a mill-employee gate on public property.

ALSO at The Stand — AWPPW members strike at KapStone in Longview

► From KGW TV — Video shows truck hitting Longview picketers — AWPPW member Steve Blanchard, 36, of St. Helens, told police that as he was walking the picket line outside KapStone, a vehicle bumped him and then accelerated, throwing him across the road. The driver, 35-year-old Derek Knight of Coy, Alabama, told police he was trying to leave the plant and “he was in fear of being harmed, so he left the area and then called 911 to report the event.”




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Pasco schools to close for third day, marathon contract talks set — The Pasco School District’s teachers strike will stretch into a third day. Negotiators with the Pasco Association of Educators made their first formal contract proposal in about two weeks during bargaining Wednesday afternoon. They requested a marathon, face-to-face, 18-hour bargaining session on Sept. 3 to strike a deal.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — School talks stall, board prepares for legal action in event of strike — With a strike looming and negotiators unable to craft a deal after an all-day bargaining session Wednesday, the Spokane Public Schools board gave the superintendent the ability to fire striking workers and bring legal action against the union.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Talks stalled, Seattle teachers to vote Thursday on whether to strike — The educators will take a strike vote after contract negotiations with the school district ended without an agreement.




Hanford-big► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Washington files lawsuit over Hanford tank vapors — The state of Washington filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Department of Energy and its Hanford tank farm contractor, seeking better chemical vapor protection for workers. Local Union 598, which represents Hanford pipefitters and welders, and Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based advocacy group for Hanford workers, also filed a lawsuit in federal court. DOE has known that workers have been exposed since the late 1980s to chemical vapors from waste in Hanford’s underground tanks, the state said in its lawsuit.

► From KUOW — ‘Helping my people’: 17-year-old farmworker becomes a labor activist — Alicia Santos started picking strawberries when she was 7 years old. Her mother was working at Hayton Farms in Skagit County, so Alicia went along. She stayed in the row for the whole day but didn’t make much effort. “I feel like, why am I even picking? It’s so hot!” Now at age 17, Santos still works in the fields of Skagit County, along with just about everyone in her community. She’s trying to help others like her by organizing for better working conditions.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Demise of Export-Import Bank leaves Dreamliners parked in Everett — The Dreamliners are the first Boeing aircraft to be left in limbo because of the shutdown of the Ex-Im Bank, a longtime source of funding for overseas sales, especially for buyers that find it hard to borrow commercially.

mcmorris-rodgers-LEDITOR’S NOTE — Ex-Im reauthorization is still waiting for some leadership from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th). It passed the Senate and it has sufficient votes to pass the House, but House Republican leadership is blocking a vote because it doesn’t want to anger its Tea Party contingent and the Koch brothers. McMorris Rodgers is part of that leadership team and has spent the past year hedging her bets by calling for Ex-Im “reforms.” But her Tea Party colleagues have made their goal clear: to kill the Ex-Im Bank. McMorris Rodgers has a choice to make. She can do what’s clearly in her state’s best interests and publicly push to allow an Ex-Im vote. Or she can continue playing footsie with the Tea Party and the Kochs to safeguard her personal political ambitions. What’s it gonna be, Cathy?

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing could face 737 production gap as it shifts to Max — Some analysts are warning Boeing may be facing a production gap between the current 737 model and the arrival of the 737 Max, a problem it also faces with the 777X series.




► From AFL-CIO Now — The Browning-Ferris decision explained — Last week, working people won a significant victory when the NLRB issued the Browning-Ferris decision and increased employer accountability for wages and work conditions. As with most rulings issued by government bodies, it’s a little complicated and a lot of questions are being asked about what exactly the ruling means.




► In today’s NY Time — Low-income workers see biggest drop in paychecks — Despite steady gains in hiring, a falling unemployment rate and other signs of an improving economy, take-home pay for many American workers has effectively fallen since the economic recovery began in 2009, according to a new study by the National Employment Law Project.

► From Reuters — Bid to override veto of arbitration bill fails in Illinois House — The Illinois House on Wednesday failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a controversial bill to send collective bargaining impasses to arbitration, leaving open the possibility of a future strike or lockout of state workers.

► From Think Progress — A whole lot of California farmworkers are landing in the hospital. Why? — As the west coast grapples with a mixture of drought and heat waves, heat-related illnesses among farm workers has continued to persist.

► From Huffington Post — Al Jazeera America digital journalists unionize — They join a growing number of digital newsrooms that have organized in recent months.




proud-to-be-union► In today’s Washington Post — The pushback against unfair labor practices (by Harold Meyerson) — On this Labor Day, American workers may be beginning to reclaim what by right should be theirs… A solution to the independent contractor charade may be forthcoming in Seattle, where the city council has before it a proposed ordinance that would permit personal transport drivers — that is, those independent contractors who drive not just for Uber and Lyft but for taxicab companies, too — to unionize without changing their status. The National Labor Relations Act specifically excludes independent contractors from its coverage, in the same section that excludes public employees and agricultural and domestic workers. The reasoning behind the Seattle proposal is that nothing in federal law prohibited states and localities from enacting their own laws granting collective bargaining rights to public employees and agricultural workers (as many have done), so they can extend those rights to independent contractors as well. No effort to reduce our towering levels of inequality can succeed unless workers can amass more power. On this Labor Day, they appear to be finding ways to do just that.


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