12 -- Let's rise to the challenge!
the Washington State Legislature has the opportunity not only to
meet the significant budget challenges, it can also take steps to help
rebuild our state -- and its middle class. PLUS, what's changed in 2015;
Senate GOP taps anti-union Sen. Baumgartner to chair labor panel; Same
old transportation roadblocks?
20 -- Some bills are smart, some are just ALEC
lined up to support good bills to raise the minimum wage and set a
standard for paid sick leave. But in the Senate, a number of bills
drafted by the "corporate bill mill" ALEC have
appeared to create new collective bargaining obstacles for public
employees. PLUS, hearing Tuesday on "ag gag" bill, President's
Report on Week 1 surprises, and meet WSLC Legislative Intern Elissa
28 -- Give the people what they want
hard to find legislative issues more popular across party lines than
raising the minimum wage and allowing all workers to earn paid sick
leave. But more importantly, these proposals are the right thing to do
-- especially at a time of growing income inequality and stagnant wages.
That was the
message delivered in the House Labor Committee during testimony on HB
1355 to accelerate the state's minimum wage increases so it reaches $12
an hour in four years and HB 1356 to allow all workers to earn at least
40 hours of paid time off per year. PLUS: Discouraging wage theft and
retaliation; WSLC backs Equal Pay Opportunity Act; Johnson: Create good
jobs and tackle climate change.
3 -- Giving companies what they want
Instead of supporting
popular efforts to raise the minimum wage and promote paid sick days,
some Senate Republicans are focused on cutting injured
workers' benefits and establishing a new sub-minimum wage. Not exactly
what we remember them campaigning on, unless it was behind closed doors
in meetings with corporate executives and lobbyists. PLUS, get the
details on the WSLC Legislative Reception & Conference, plus a rally
on the Capitol steps on Feb. 20.
10 -- We're being taken for a ride
Because our aerospace
tax incentives lack the accountability standards required in most
states, Washington taxpayers are subsidizing one of biggest corporations
in the world even as it sheds jobs in our state. PLUS, we are
subsidizing low-wage aerospace companies that have employees who can't
meet their families' basic needs. Plus, shared prosperity bills to be
heard, and Reception, Rally, Conference!
25 -- Which side are they on?
Washington voters will soon
find out which side their representatives are on. Three key pieces of
the Washington State Labor Council's 2015 Shared Prosperity Agenda are
ready for a full vote of the House any day now: protecting workers from
retaliation for speaking up about wage theft and simply trying to earn a
hard day's wage, increasing the state's minimum wage over four years to
create a new floor of $12 an hour, and allowing all workers in
Washington to earn sick leave to take care of themselves or a loved one
when they are sick. PLUS, hold the ideology on transportation, and more
cutoff deadlines loom.
5 -- The dismantling of workers' comp
ProPublica and NPR
reported the results of a ground-breaking national investigation into
the systematic destruction of the safety net for workers injured on the
job, which they found has been "steered by big business and aided
by the recent Republican takeovers of state legislatures."
Washington's state-run workers' compensation system has not been immune
from such cutbacks. Check out the list of Senate bills that would weaken
our system. PLUS, the House passes minimum wage and paid sick leave
bills, and the Senate approves an "unclean" transportation
12 -- Cutoff carnage: The good, the bad and the undead
March 11 was the cutoff deadline for policy bills to pass their houses
of origin, which led to a flurry of floor votes this week. Key bills
affecting working families -- some in positive ways and some negative --
have either advanced to the opposite house or are now dead for the
session. Here's a summary of some of the working families bills and
23 -- Can we get fair hearings?
Three key bills in the
Washington State Labor Council's Shared Prosperity Agenda -- raising the
minimum wage, granting paid sick leave, and the Equal Pay Opportunity
Act -- will get hearings in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on
March 30. In the meantime, what of the many other bills -- those that
haven't received as much publicity, but are nonetheless important
legislation affecting many working families? PLUS: America's most unfair
tax system, and Don't rob pensions to balance budget.
10 -- Broken
promises, broken priorities
Public employees and
their families in our communities have suffered enough. The people who
keep our neighborhoods safe, care for the elderly and disabled, teach
and protect our children, maintain our roads and transportation system,
and provide other essential state services have been asked to make many
personal sacrifices. Throughout the recession, our state government
asked these workers to do more for less, with the promise that in the
future, things would get better for them and their families. Now, after
seven years of wage freezes and cuts, it's time to keep that promise by
funding the modest 3% and 1.8% raises in the contracts.
1 -- Sen. Hill's collective bargaining
a clear bipartisan majority agrees the state employee contracts should
be funded, why is that issue still on the table? The answer
appeared in The Olympian, which reported that Sen. Andy Hill
(R-Redmond) "suggested that changes in collective bargaining policy
may smooth the way to Senate acceptance of the pacts."
Specifically, Hill wants collective bargaining negotiations currently
held in private to be opened to outsiders, a policy being pushed by the
right-wing Freedom Foundation. If there is any wonder why people have
become cynical about government, look no further than Sen. Hill's
news stories from the 2015 legislative session appear in the State
Government section of The Stand, including:
GOP tea partiers holding state hostage (June 26)
raises in 7 years signed, sealed, delivered for state workers
making: The Seattle Times shills for Hill (July 15)