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WSLC Reports Today
Updated DAILY... Almost Every Day™ by 9 a.m. 

Links are functional at date of posting, but sometimes expire. Some links require free registration. WSLC Reports Today links to stories of interest to organized labor; some positive, some negative.  The intention is to inform.



FRIDAY, APRIL 21  ■  Worker Memorial Day commemorations planned for next week

Pacific Northwest news:
■  In today’s News Tribune --
Tacoma wins (and city employees lose) on health care -- An arbitrator's decision means city workers, for the first time, will begin paying a share of premiums, about $40 a month for individual coverage, or $80 a month for family coverage. They already have co-pays.
■  In today’s Everett Herald --
Stevens Hospital will cut 90 jobs in May -- About 70 of the positions being eliminated are full-time, but few are clinical jobs.
■  In today’s Everett Herald --
County clerks threaten to stop work over talks -- "It's not a strike... it means we will not be here," says the president of the union representing workers in the county Superior Court system. Last year, they disaffiliated from AFSCME, the larger county union.
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
Southwest wants 79 more 737s -- Boeing now has 276 orders for the popular 737 this year. Last year, Boeing won a 569 orders for the 737, a record.
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
Boeing workers' data on stolen laptop -- Some 3,600 employees' names, Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, may have been compromised.
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
Lower labor costs lift Alaska Airlines -- It endured a host of ills after it cut pilots' salaries and laid off hundreds of ramp workers in 2005: Delayed flights, grumpy workers, angry passengers. But rising fares help post "robust results"... a net loss of $79.1 million.  
■  In today’s Yakima H-R --
Another sawmill is closing, leaving a different kind of void (editorial) -- The closure of Layman Lumber Co. is the kind of passing that does not go unnoticed.

Letters and Blogs:
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
Safety of Americans cannot be negotiated (scroll down, last letter) -- Shame on Wal-Mart, and shame on Congress. The safety of the American people is not something to be negotiated away in the name of "supply-chain efficiency." Learn more.
■  At the Evergreen Politics blog --
Ron Sims offers practical leadership on transit -- For a measly $25 per household per year, King County would get 20% more bus service. This is exactly the kind of investment we need to be making... (to) survive and thrive in a world of increasingly expensive oil. (Also see, in today's News Tribune: Good morning, gas costs you another 2 cents per gallon.)
■  In today’s Olympian -- Cheap labor is not a family value (from retired UA 26 member) -- Immigration is about freedom and becoming a U.S. citizen. But to corporate America, it's about cheap labor and very little else -- cheap labor to do the jobs most Americans would take if offered at a fair wage.

Immigration news:
■  In today’s LA Times --
Nationwide raids intensify focus on employers of illegal immigrants -- In raids that set a record for workplace-enforcement arrests in a single day, officials announced Thursday that they took 1,187 illegal immigrants into custody at wood products plants in 26 states and had charged seven company managers with crimes that can carry long prison terms.
■  In today’s Oregonian --
Portland plant caught in immigration sweep -- Agents arrest 21 workers at pallet manufacturer IFCO Systems and send them to a detention center in Tacoma, where they will go before an immigration judge to determine whether they should be deported.
■  In today’s LA Times --
Employers often use subcontractors who hire illegal immigrants

Political news:
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
A political battle is rising in the east (Connelly column) -- Washington's 8th congressional district race between Dave Reichert and Darcy Burner "has the opportunity of being one-fifteenth of what is needed to change America," says one Democratic congressman.
■  In today’s Washington Post --
Senate Democrats ahead in cash race -- Dems bring in more money than Republicans and finish the quarter with twice as much money in the bank.

National news:
■  In today’s NY Times --
Hotel rooms get plusher, adding to housekeepers' injuries -- Luxury beds may mean sweet dreams to hotel guests, but they mean pain to many of the nation's 350,000 hotel housekeepers. Thousands of them are suffering arm, shoulder and lower-back injuries.
■  In today’s NY Times --
So much for those world trade talks (editorial) -- Susan Schwab, the woman President Bush has nominated to become United States trade representative, has neither the respect abroad nor the access to the president to be good at the job. 
■  In today’s NY Times --
Tentative deal averts strike by 28,000 New York City doormen -- Efforts to outsource their jobs to cheaper overseas labor fail.  (Okay. It doesn't really say that.) 

 



THURSDAY, APRIL 20  ■  Crab feed fundraiser for Jobs with Justice April 28 in Tacoma

Hu SaysWA news:
■  In today’s Seattle P-I -- Hu's Boeing visit is a hit with workers -- Some 5,000 Boeing workers erupt into wild cheers as the Chinese president makes an unusual gesture of friendship -- hugging one of their colleagues, Paul Dernier, after the 777 worker presented Hu with a Boeing cap.
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
Boeing workers voice concern about losing jobs to China -- The public celebration went smoothly, but privately some express concern about their work being offloaded.
■  In today’s Everett Herald --
Boeing greets Hu with cheers -- The president of China predicts a "bright tomorrow" for its future with Boeing.

Pacific Northwest news:
■  In today’s Yakima H-R --
State tells employers to set up rules for working in heat -- L&I declares the new emergency rule after stepping back from a much more specific advance proposal, which had come under heavy fire from industry groups but was supported by farm-worker advocates.
■  In today’s Tri-City Herald --
Hanford budget likely to improve -- A visiting congressman predicts more money for the vitrification plant in the next budget year than is available this year.
■  In today's Seattle P-I --
State: Viaduct must be replaced -- In case there was any confusion, "no build" is a no-go for Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct if the city wants state money for the project.

Immigration news:
■  In the Chicago Tribune --
Farm union helps in recruiting, hiring immigrant workers -- Baldemar Velasquez, a muscular 59-year-old grandfather, heads the Toledo, Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee, composed of about 8,000 undocumented workers and another 6,000 Mexicans recruited for short-term work. In February the union joined the AFL-CIO. 
■  In today’s NY Times -- Immigrant groups plan campaign to bring legal changes -- Leaders of the demonstrations that drew hundreds of thousands of immigrants into the streets announce they are planning voter registration and citizenship drives across the country.
■  In today’s Wash. Post -- Fearing backlash, some immigration activists not backing May 1 boycott

Wal-Mart news:
■  From Dow Jones --
Wal-Mart defends health care, labor policies -- CEO says Wal-Mart will take "a leadership role" in solving the nation's health-care crisis, but said governments, businesses and labor unions must work together; calls Maryland's Fair Share law "ridiculous... This is not about governing, it's about punishment;" says part of the reason for Wal-Mart's extraordinary 50% worker turnover may be that store managers aren't saying "thank you" for a job well done.
■  In today’s NY Times -- Chief's tone at Wal-Mart reflects changes of past year -- Company "in transformation" offers what a year ago would have seemed an unthinkably long list of changes.

National news:
■  Today from AP -- CEO pay rises more slowly, but still towers over yours -- The average CEO's pay is now 430 times that of the average U.S. worker -- more than 10 times what it was in 1980.
■  In today’s NY Times --
The teacher subsidy (editorial) -- Housing subsidies are an increasingly common recruitment tool in high-priced communities struggling to improve their teacher corps. Elected officials must do whatever it takes -- including raising salaries -- to make sure that more talented math and science students end up in classrooms and spend their careers there. 

Last throes update:
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
A five-star rebuke of casualness, swagger (Broder column) -- The public stand of these retired senior officers is unprecedented; even in Vietnam, with all the misgivings among the fighting men, we saw no such open defiance. Says Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, the former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results." 
■  Iraq casualty report -- U.S. soldiers killed:
2,375 -- U.S. soldiers killed since Bush's photo op announcing "Mission Accomplished:" 2,238 -- Iraqi body count: 34,511 to 38,660.
■ 
Today from Reuters -- In Baghdad hotspot, government deadlock is irrelevant 
■ 
In today’s SF Chronicle --
War costs approach $10 billion a month -- The military faces the rapidly growing cost of repairing, rebuilding and replacing equipment chewed up by 3 years of combat.
■  In today’s NY Times --
Things change, stay the same (editorial) -- Bush wants to show he's shaking things up in his administration, but the people who messed everything up remain in place.

 



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19  ■  Your union's news goes right here -- All WSLC affiliates are encouraged to submit news stories, calls to action, event announcements and whatever else they want to share with the rest of Washington's labor movement. Just e-mail us!

Washington -- We Don't Suck:
■  In today’s Seattle Times -- State's job market keeps it's sizzle -- Because "Washington employers hired workers at a near-frantic pace in March," the state has 3.3% more jobs than a year earlier -- more than twice the year-over-year growth rate for the nation as a whole.
■  In the Columbian -- Sky didn't fall where minimum wage went up (Rick Bender column) -- It's never been clearer than today that higher minimum wages do not increase unemployment.
■  In today’s Seattle Times -- Boeing's high-flying stock showers riches on top execs -- Monday, the stock price triggered a stock bonus worth $780,000 for Alan Mulally. Now, THAT doesn't suck!

Pacific Northwest news:
■  In today’s Olympian -- Union, state at start of talks -- State negotiators and the Washington Federation of State Employees sit down today to talk about ground rules for contract talks.
■  In the Seattle Weekly --
New Age Teamsters -- What would Dave Beck think? No shouting mobs, no blood spilled, no heads split. The Teamsters reached a tentative settlement this week with Seattle-area garbage haulers by advertising on TV and posting their rationale on the Web.
■  In today’s Kitsap Sun --
Foot-ferry plans need voter OK -- Kitsap officials say the passenger-only service from Kingston, Bremerton and Southworth to Seattle won't happen without a tax hike.
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
Sonics want a deal this month -- In their most detailed demand to date, Sonics owners say they'll pay $18.3 million (plus overruns) toward a $220 million KeyArena expansion, but they want city officials' answer this month. If it's "no," the team may leave.
■  In today’s Bellingham Herald --
Ferndale district, union (PSE) appear past the hardest part (editorial)
■  In the Longview Daily News --
Longview Fibre rejects takeover bid, but hints of its own plant selloffs

Political news:
■  In today’s Seattle P-I -- Reichert kicks off election bid -- His notable first-term accomplishments apparently include his gallant returning of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's lost shoe.
■  Today at Horses Ass blog --
Reichert: "Dirty politics" is in the (blind) eye of the beholder -- Notorious GOP consultant Bruce Boram was too dirty for Reichert’s campaign in fall 2004, but somehow Boram cleaned himself up by April 2005. He’s been on Reichert's payroll ever since.
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
Cheney's visit? Just put it on our tab (Connelly column)
■  In today’s Wash. Post --
GOP's Ohio double play -- Republicans privately agree they're paying for an ad attacking a Democrat because they want to help him beat a more formidable challenger.

National news:
■  In today’s Wash. Post -- Hamiltonian Democrats (Must-read Meyerson column) -- The Democrats' new economic project doesn't take into account American capitalism's indifference to workers. Their list of national problems does not include a corporate culture that richly and reflexively rewards executives who offshore work to cheaper climes and deny their American employees the right to join unions. Indeed, much of their project amounts to whistling by the globalization graveyard.
■  In today’s Wash. Post --
After Caterpillar's turnaround, a chance to reinvent globalization (Pearlstein column) -- Either the business community will have to come up with an improved social contract that allows them to run competitive companies while ensuring that the gains of globalization are spread more equitably, or they will have to face the almost certain prospect that angry voters will roll back globalization in ways that will hurt the global economy and their companies.
■  In today’s LA Times -- Wal-Mart works to polish image, but detractor gear up, too -- For its executives, managing the steady drumbeat of negative news is consuming almost as much of their time as running the company. The past year in particular has been brutal.
■  In today’s NY Times --
Benefits threatened, auto workers line up for elective procedures
■  In today’s NY Times --
Political clout in the age of outsourcing (column) -- Unlike programmers or textile workers, doctors have the power to erect trade barriers blocking foreign competition.
■  In today’s NY Times -- Heeeere's Donny! -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's self-defense is now a daily show, complete with praise from serving generals and tributes from the president.

 



TUESDAY, APRIL 18  ■  Who "wins" if port security measures are blocked? Wal-Mart.
■  Today from AP -- Wal-Mart widens its health plan -- It will allow part-timers to buy coverage after one year, instead of two. But spokespeople don't mention the plan requires Wal-Mart's low-wage  workers to pick up the first $1,000 in expenses, and the deductible is $3,000 for families. Learn more by checking out WakeUpWalMart.com's new report: "America Pays. Wal-Mart Saves."

Pacific Northwest news:
■  In yesterday’s Columbian -- Sky didn't fall where minimum wage went up (Rick Bender column) -- It's never been clearer than today that higher minimum wages do not increase unemployment.
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
Contractor relents on firing of Latino workers -- The home-painting contractor that fired 17 Latino employees for leaving work to attend the immigration march decides to rehire the workers after meeting with a delegation of labor and political leaders.
■  In today’s Yakima H-R --
Workplace heat stress proposal has some steamed -- State officials say they'll decide this week whether to propose a new rule regulating exposure to heat in outdoor workplaces, a topic under discussion since a Moxee hop worker died of heat stroke in 2005. Farm groups and the BIAW say it "is unnecessary... and could cost employers millions."
■  In yesterday's Columbian -- May 13 NALC Food Drive not a moment too soon -- The National Association of Letter Carriers food drive couldn't come soon enough for one local food bank, which reports supplies have run low in recent months, forcing it to buy food. Learn more.
■  In today’s Tri-City Herald --
FFTF gets historic landmark designation
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
Sims wants to boost sales tax to add Metro buses
■  In today’s Yakima H-R -- States should look at new Mass. law requiring health insurance (editorial) 
■  In the Longview Daily News --
All eyes on Massachusetts' health plan (editorial) -- It's an intriguing program, but we seriously doubt that it will become a model for this or most other states.

Boeing news:  
■  In today’s News Tribune -- Teamster deal with Boeing averts drivers' strike -- Local 174 says its 239 Puget Sound-area members “achieved everything we wanted in the contract.”
■  In today’s Seattle P-I -- Claims of faulty 737 parts belittled, whistleblowers say -- Report says the FAA and other government agencies did not adequately assess the key allegations they made.
■  In today's Wichita Eagle --
Boeing Wichita to lay off 1 in 4 -- Citing defense cuts, the company will cut 900 jobs in three rounds of layoffs this year, beginning today. (Also, see memo to employees.)

Political news:
■  In today’s King County Journal -- Political newcomer Darcy Burner targets Reichert -- Burner, a retired Microsoft manager who lives outside Carnation, is a political novice, but she's already drawing national attention from observers who think she has a chance against Reichert.
■  Today from AP --
Cantwell retains fundraising lead -- As of March 31, the incumbent U.S. Senator had a whopping $5.6 million cash on hand; challenger McGavick has $896,000 in cash.
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
The phone-jam scam (editorial) -- Democrats are right to demand to know if there was a White House connection to the crime committed in New Hampshire.

Hu SaysWA news:
■  In today’s Seattle Times -- Protesters criticize China's human-rights record
■  In today’s Seattle P-I --
Falun Gong practitioners protest Hu's visit -- The Chinese government, they alleged, is killing its followers in a Nazi-style concentration camp and harvesting their organs.
■  In today’s NY Times --
Mr. Hu and Mr. Zhao (editorial) -- A N.Y. Times researcher's 19-month imprisonment shows how far China still has to travel before it can call itself a just society.

National news:
■  In today’s NY Times -- Anger rises on both sides of strike at University of Miami -- Six janitors have been on a hunger strike for 13 days, and five students for 6 -- all part of a labor dispute that has turned unusually personal, with faculty members, students, union leaders and members of the clergy sharply criticizing university president Donna Shalala as a union-buster.
■  In today’s Detroit Free Press --
IAM courting Northwest mechanics to rejoin union
■  Today at AFL-CIO Now --
Removal of Mexican labor leader draws protest in the U.S.

 


 

MONDAY, APRIL 17  ■  NALC National Food Drive will be Saturday, May 13

Pacific Northwest news:
■  In today’s Seattle P-I -- Garbage haulers reach tentative deal, averting strike -- The agreements cover about 600 drivers providing curbside garbage pickup in King and Snohomish counties. A ratification vote by Teamsters Local 174 members has been scheduled for April 29.
■  In today’s Yakima H-R -- Hasten, but still require, state review of labor appeal (editorial) -- Even if Global Horizons is allowed to resume business providing guest workers for Washington farmers, the state must demand oversight and accountability to restore credibility to the firm's operations.
■  In Saturday’s Seattle Times --
Pasco meat workers paid $8.4 million for time spent suiting up -- About 800 workers employed at an Eastern Washington beef slaughterhouse in the late 1990s have begun receiving checks for back pay in a recent legal victory against Tyson Foods.
■  In today’s Kitsap Sun -- Firefighters converge on Bremerton -- Hundreds of unionized firefighters and paramedics from around the state are in town this week for an education conference.
■  In the News Tribune -- Health coverage required by law (editorial) -- Massachusetts is conducting a timely experiment in personal responsibility. Its individual mandate will bear close watching.
■  In today’s Olympian --
One state worker fired for refusing to pay dues is back on job today (brief) 
■ 
In today’s Olympian --
Payroll system error leaves some state employees shortchanged
■  In the PS Business Journal -- Unions and films (EFF letter) -- If Washington were a right-to-work state, movie producers and workers would not be bound by unions' exorbitant and altruistic demands.

Boeing news:
■  In today’s Wash. Post -- Boeing parts and rules bent, whistleblowers say -- Whether questionable parts ended up in hundreds of Boeing 737s is the subject of a bitter legal dispute in Wichita.
■  Saturday from Bloomberg --
Bidding process for Air Force tankers to resume 

Dick About Town news:
■  From AP --
Cheney to campaign for McGavick and Larsen challenger -- Dems: "Unfortunately for McGavick, Cheney is about as popular in Washington state as a root canal without pain killer."
■  In Saturday's Seattle Times --
Reichert will appear with Cheney at fundraiser -- Campaign manager initially said Reichert couldn't be there, raising questions about "the Cheney effect."
■  In today’s Everett Herald --
Cheney hopes his allure will rub off (No, really -- that's the headline) -- The VP is in Everett for a pricey luncheon fundraiser for Rep. Rick Larsen's unknown GOP challenger.
■  In today’s Washington Post -- Anger at Bush may hurt GOP at polls -- Both parties say intense and widespread opposition to Bush is likely to drive Democratic voters to the polls this fall.

Other political news:
■  Today from AP -- GOP defector Rep. Rodney Tom says party is "out of touch"
■  In today’s Kitsap Sun -- Former Locke aide Lucas challenges Sheldon on Democratic platform -- The new pick-a-party primary format might pull support from the controversial state senator.
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
McGavick-Cantwell race a contrast in moderates
■  In today’s News Tribune --
Rep. Smith's PAC shares its riches -- Widely considered a good bet to win re-election, he has turned into a sugar daddy for more vulnerable Democratic candidates.
■  In the Seattle Times --
Ethics panel stalled; what's up Doc? (column) -- Newspaper editorials have denounced Hastings for "nap time" on the "do-nothing" "feckless" and "inert" ethics committee, accusing it of "flatlining" and "ossifying." Unmoved, "Doc" hasn't responded to the criticism.
■  In the NY Times -- Looking to November with a 2-year-old playbook -- Republicans aim to draw religious conservatives to the polls again with a familiar strategy: anti-gay-marriage initiatives. But 2006 is nothing like 2004; and the GOP's GOTV tools do not seem as formidable this year.
■  At AFL-CIO Now --
Get set for 2006 elections with AFL-CIO Congressional Voting Record

Immigration news:
■  In the NY Times -- Cost of illegal immigration may be less than meets the eye -- There is scant evidence that illegal immigrants have caused any significant damage to Americans' wages.
■  In Sunday’s NY Times --
Going after migrants, but not employers -- Some of the congressmen leading efforts to pass tougher immigration laws have opposed INS raids in their own backyards.
■  In today’s Everett Herald -- Monroe workers who left job for rally are fired -- IUPAT files a grievance against Laitala Enterprises on behalf of 17 Latino painters, who allegedly broke company rules.
■  In Saturday’s NY Times --
For immigrants and business, a rift on protests -- Quite a few workers around the country were fired for participating in rallies. Some have complained that they were being singled out for their political views, and a few have filed formal complaints with the NLRB.
■  In today’s NY Times --
Demonstrations on immigration harden a divide -- Some have not paid close attention to the debate in Congress, until seeing the marches. Now they're angry at immigrants.
■  In today’s Olympian --
A thank-you note to "Three Amigos" who boosted rally turnout (op-ed) 

National news:
■  In today’s Washington Post -- Tax gimmickry (editorial) -- When Congress comes back from its recess, it's expected to take up a deal to extend Bush's capital gains and dividend tax cuts by suggesting that the way to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy is... more tax cuts for the wealthy!
■  Today from AP --
Wal-Mart seeks to soften its ruthless public image -- Wal-Mart is trying to recast itself as a friendly neighbor, but the public perception that it's a ruthless competitor obsessed with maintaining its dominance of the retail industry is deeply ingrained.

 


 

Previous weeks' news: April 10-14 -- March 27-31 -- March 20-24

FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2006
Worker Memorial Day commemorations planned next week

Every year on April 28, Workers Memorial Day, the union movement honors workers who have been hurt or killed on the job and recommits to the fight for safe workplaces. This year began with a terrible workplace tragedy, the explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia that claimed the lives of 12 miners. A total of 24 coal miners have died on the job already in 2006, making it crystal clear we need strong protection for our miners. Click here to take action on this issue.

Here in Washington state, more than 100 workers died in 2005 as a result of on-the-job injuries or illnesses. Click here for a list (in Word format) as provided by the Department of Labor and Industries.

The following Worker Memorial Day commemorations are planned for next week:

BELLINGHAM -- The Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will have a remembrance ceremony at noon on Friday, April 28 for workers who have died or been injured on the job this past year. It will be at the Worker Memorial Monument on the Bellingham Library lawn, across the street from Bellingham City Hall. For more information, contact Charlie Warren at 360-676-0099.

EVERETT -- The Snohomish County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, holds its event will be at noon on Wednesday, April 26 at which time members of the SCLC Executive Board will place a wreath at the Snohomish County Workers’ Monument in front of the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett . At 6 p.m. that evening, members and guests at the SCLC’s regular meeting will gather at the SCLC office, 2812 Lombard Ave., for the reading of the names of those who suffered fatal workplace injuries in the past year. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 425-259-7922.

OLYMPIA/TUMWATER -- The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) will honor the memories of more than 100 workers who died as a result of job-related injuries or illnesses in Washington in 2005 at its Worker Memorial Day ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the L&I headquarters, 7273 Linderson Way SW, in Tumwater. The simple ceremony will open with a welcome by L&I Director Gary Weeks. Speakers include Ron Judd of the Governor’s Office, Don Brunell of the Association of Washington Business, Alan Link of the Washington State Labor Council, and Andy Rowlson from Washington Self­Insurers’ Association. Family members of workers who died in 2005 have been invited, and the observance is open to the public. The centerpiece of the ceremony is a reading of the names of the workers, accompanied by bell ringers from the Washington State Council of Firefighters. For more information, contact L&I's Elaine Fischer at 360-902-5413.

SPOKANE -- The Spokane Regional Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will have its annual Worker Memorial Day commemoration at noon on Saturday, April 29 at Mission Park. Alan Link, Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will be among the speakers.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2006
Crab feed fundraiser for Jobs with Justice April 28 in Tacoma

The Pierce County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, invites everyone to an All-You-Can-Eat Crab Feed to raise money for Jobs with Justice from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 28 at the Seafarers Sports Bar and Grill, 3878 Center Street in Tacoma.

The cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple, and the menu includes fresh Dungeness crab, baked salmon, seafood chowder, smoked salmon, and choice of Caesar or green salad. Those who don't like seafood can enjoy the "biggest burger in South Puget Sound." The event promises lots of fun, food and prizes.

More than 40 Jobs with Justice coalitions nationwide bring labor, community, faith, and student member organizations together to create social and economic justice alternatives to corporate power. Through creative direct action, JwJ fights back against corporate greed and workplace injustice. It is a volunteer-driven and volunteer-sustained coalition; about 75% of its budget comes from local individuals and local democratically run organizations.

For 13 years, JwJ has been there with workers across Washington state, and on April 28 you can be there for JwJ, plus have some good food and fun. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Seafarers Sports Bar and Grill or from the Pierce County Central Labor Council office by calling 253-473-3810.

Can't make it? You can contribute online to Washington State Jobs with Justice. Just click here to make a contribution. Thank you!.

TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2006
Who "wins" if port security measures are blocked? Wal-Mart.

In today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the head of the Retail Industry Leaders Association defends Wal-Mart's role in blocking congressional efforts to improve port security by arguing, "If commerce is disrupted and our economy damaged -- the terrorists win."  (This opinion column was in response to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney's April 6 column: "Wal-Mart's Dirty Secret Is Out.")

Aside from the fact this Karl Rovian line is soooo 2002, RILA's defense of its biggest client makes clear what its priority is: unrestricted commerce, not national security.  In fact, RILA boasted in a 2005 lobbying report to Wal-Mart and other clients about its "continued industry leadership in opposition to ill-advised and onerous port security measures (i.e., cargo fees, increased physical inspections)."

Today's RILA oped argues, "RILA members have invested heavily in security related initiatives, spending hundreds of millions of dollars through federal tax (and) port/terminal security fees." Apparently, we should all be grateful that these patriotic retailers have agreed to PAY THEIR TAXES like the rest of us, but that hardly demonstrates a renewed post-9/11 commitment to port  security in the context of a RILA agenda focused on beating back meaningful port security efforts.

A new AFL-CIO study finds that, in the past few years, RILA and Wal-Mart have:

  • Opposed the introduction of anti-terrorist "smart containers" and electronic seals for cargo containers coming into U.S. ports. The retail industry called them "feel good (security) measures."

  • Opposed independent and regular inspections of supply-chain security practices around the world.

  • Opposed tougher rules requiring Wal-Mart to let Customs know what it's shipping in and where it comes from.

  • Opposed new container-handling fees to pay for improved port security.

Plain and simple, Wal-Mart and RILA are putting profits before American security. And that's a big reason why the federal government has spent just $630 million -- less than 4 percent of the $18 billion-plus we have spent since 9/11 on airport security -- to make ports safer.

Shame on Wal-Mart, and shame on Congress. The safety of the American people is not something to be negotiated away in the name of "supply chain efficiency."

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2006
NALC National Food Drive will be Saturday, May 13

On the second Saturday in May -- May 13, 2006 -- letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America will deliver much more than mail when they walk and drive along their postal routes. They also will collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers participating in the 14th annual NALC National Food Drive -- the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

The effort by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with the help of rural letter carriers, other postal employees and numerous other volunteers has resulted in the delivery of well over half a billion pounds of donations to community food banks over the past 13 years. The drive relies on the backing of the AFL-CIO Community Services network; America's Second Harvest, the nation's food bank network; and the United Way of America.

This year's NALC National Food Drive happens on the same day as the Washington State Labor Council hosts its 2006 COPE Convention (Committee on Political Education) at the SeaTac Hilton, but you can participate in both. All you need to do is have your family place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox Saturday morning before letter carriers deliver the mail. Your carrier will do the rest. The food is taken to your local postal station, sorted, and then delivered to an area food bank or pantry for needy families in your community.

 

If you have news items regarding unions or workplace issues in Washington state that you would like to see posted here, please submit them via e-mail to David Groves or via fax to 206-285-5805.

Copyright © 2006   Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO