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Labor Day redux, back to work at KapStone, charters lose…

Tuesday, September 8, 2015




► In the News Tribune — Labor Day is a time to celebrate and reflect (by Jeff Johnson) — We gather at the gravesite not only to honor Ralph Chaplin and the spirit of the song he wrote, 100 years ago this year, but also to talk about how we rebuild an economy where all workers get to share in the prosperity that they have created.

► In the Olympian — On Labor Day, rebuilding the American Dream (by Jeff Johnson) — Working people are beginning to unite under the banner of Raising Wages because when prosperity is shared, we all do better.


The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council had great turnout for its annual Labor Day picnic in Castle Rock.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Labor Day Picnic: A time for community reflection after strike — Shawn Nyman said she had always heard Longview was a labor-friendly town. But it wasn’t until the recent KapStone strike that she actually witnessed the strength of labor support firsthand.

oly-15-labor-day-picnic► In today’s Olympian — Hundreds pay homage to unions at annual Labor Day picnic in Chehalis — Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council’s annual Labor Day picnic featured live music, bouncy houses, door prizes and plenty of traditional picnic foods such as hamburgers, potato salad, watermelon and ice cream. “Today is about organized labor being able to give back to the community,” said TLMCLC President Bob Guenther.

► In today’s Tr-City Herald — Thousands attend Labor Day picnic in Kennewick (video)

► From Meet the Press — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s full interview (video) — He reflects on Labor Day 2015, the state of organized labor, and the 2016 presidential race.

► In the NY Times — Workers organize, but don’t unionize, to get protection under labor law — In an era when the traditional labor unions envisioned by Depression-era supporters of that law have weakened steadily, many advocates now see work site committees as an alternative way to strengthen workers’ clout and protections.


► In The Atlantic — Can millennials save unions? — Membership rates are at historic lows for all American workers, especially those in their 20s and early 30s — and yet, that’s a generation with unusually favorable opinions of organized labor and what it stands for.

► From Think Progress — Why union members are better off — While there is an overall 11.3% wage boost for being in a union, women get a much larger leg up. Women who work full-time and are represented by a union make about 30% more a week, on average, than women who aren’t unionized. The same is true for people of color. In 2012, Asian workers saw a nearly 15% wage boost for being in a union, black workers got an extra 17%, and Hispanic workers saw an even larger 23% premium.




tdn-kapstone► In the (Longview) Daily News — KapStone workers to return to work Monday — KapStone has accepted an offer from its pulp and paper workers union to return to work, the union announced late Friday night. Medical benefits will be restored Saturday, the first union workers should be back on the job Monday, and all union workers should be working again by Thursday. The action ends a strike that began Aug. 27, but returning to work does not mean the union is ratifying the contract that KapStone imposed after declaring an impasse in negotiations last month. In addition to outstanding contract issues, a host of unfair labor practice complaints have yet to be resolved.

► From KUOW — Space Needle workers hold one-day picket amid a long-running labor dispute — Tourists visiting the Space Needle on Labor Day will see workers out picketing, as the unionized workforce at the Space Needle continues to put pressure on the private owners of Seattle’s iconic landmark.

► In the News Tribune — Tacoma roofing company accused of not paying workers for overtime — U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez sued Guardian Roofing in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on behalf of 65 of its employees, alleging that the company forced some of its employees to work longer than 40 hours a week without compensating them for overtime.

► In the Seattle Times — Year-old tech-worker union has yet to win contract — A year after voting to be represented by a union, the Temporary Workers of America, a group of contract technology workers has yet to reach an agreement on a contract with the company that employs them.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Former GOP chair Chris Vance to challenge Sen. Patty Murray




wa-state-supreme-court► In the Spokesman-Review — Washington Supreme Court rejects charter schools — Charter schools are unconstitutional in Washington, the state Supreme Court said in a decision that endangers two charters in Spokane that just opened. The court in its decision released Friday afternoon voided an initiative approved by voters in 2012, saying charter schools don’t fit the definition of “common schools” that’s set down in the constitution because they lack local control and local accountability.

► In the Olympian — Washington charter schools will stay open for now, despite surprise court ruling — The ruling doesn’t take effect for another 20 days, giving the parties time to file a motion for reconsideration. The Supreme Court justices didn’t say what would happen to existing charter schools after that, but ordered the case to return to King County Superior Court “for an appropriate order.”

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — What public funding requires (editorial) — Supporters of the charter schools have asked Gov. Jay Inslee to call an immediate special session to find a solution that keeps the charter schools open. That urgency now expressed for 1,200 students seems lacking for the more than 1 million public school students who are waiting for the Legislature to show an achievable plan for how it will meet its constitutional mandate to amply fund K-12 education.




► In the Tri-City Herald — Pasco teachers vote to continue week-long strike — Pasco’s nearly 1,100 teachers will not return to class Tuesday, despite a court order to end their strike. The strike will instead enter its second week, after teachers decided “overwhelmingly” by voice vote to not return to class without a labor contract at the end of a two-hour meeting, Pasco Association of Educators President Greg Olson said.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Prosser to start school after teachers approve labor contract — All 130 members in attendance at the Prosser Education Association’s Monday meeting voted to ratify an agreement with the Prosser School District that was tentatively reached Friday night. The agreement means school will start as scheduled today.

► In the Seattle Times — Seattle district, teachers agree to higher pay for subs, longer recess, but strike could still happen — Seattle Public Schools and the teachers union are continuing contract negotiations, but a strike beginning Wednesday is still possible.

► In the (Everett) Herald — District likely to OK Everett teachers’ contract




deja-vu► In today’s NY Times — Prospect of another shutdown looms as Congress girds for fights over spending — When Congress returns for business on Tuesday, lawmakers have scheduled a mere 12 legislative days to find a bipartisan compromise to keep the government open, vote on one of the most contentious foreign policy matters in a generation, reconcile the future of funding for Planned Parenthood and roll out the red carpet — and a few thousand folding chairs — to greet Pope Francis. What could go wrong?

► From The Hill — Obama to expand paid sick leave to employees of federal contractors — The president will sign an executive order giving approximately 300,000 people working on federal contractors up to seven days of paid sick leave each year.

► From The Hill — Labor unions hold back on endorsements for Hillary — Some labor officials are frustrated with Clinton for not coming to their aid in the fight over trade legislation in Congress, while others are skeptical of her commitment to their issues.

► From The Hill  — Happy anniversary, right-to-work, but it’s time to go (by Raymond Hogler) — There is compelling evidence that right-to-work laws are driving union decline in this country. In turn, union decline is linked to rising inequality of wealth.




► From AP — Judge approves $90M settlement for ex-Boeing workers — Boeing will pay $90 million to settle a lawsuit filed by former Boeing workers over retirement and medical benefits after the sale of the company’s Wichita operations.

► From AP — Lufthansa pilots call two-day strike — Pilots at German airline Lufthansa said Monday they will strike for two days this week, continuing a long-running dispute with management over early retirement provisions.


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