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 WSLC Reports Today logoUPDATED DAILY -- M-F by 9 a.m. Pacific

Links to commercial press stories are functional at the date of posting. In some cases, links "expire" when the source would like to begin charging you for old news. Disclaimer: WSLC Reports Today  links to all stories of interest to organized labor; some positive and some negative. The intention is to inform.  The creation of a link does not constitute an endorsement of that story's content.

Reports for May 6-10, 2002

Previous weeks' news: April 29-May 3 -- April 22-26 -- April 15-19

FRIDAY, May 10 -- Volunteer for, donate to NALC Food Drive on Saturday
— In today's Olympian -- Local letter carriers aim to lick hunger -- Outcome of gas-tax vote rides on key counties
— In today's Spokesman-Review -- Spokane library plans layoffs, service reductions
— In today's Bellingham Herald -- County, Teamsters agree on tentative contract
— In today's Seattle P-I -- Zarelli is in, Nichols out in 3rd District race -- Burlington Northern will pay after genetic testing of workers
— In yesterday's Columbian-- Camas Georgia-Pacific mill looks to the future
— In today's So. County Journal -- Boeing 777s get moving line in Everett come Monday
— In today's (Tacoma) News-Tribune -- Making a fine fire department better (editorial)
— In today's Eastside Journal -- Abandoning free trade could be costly (editorial)
— In today's N.Y. Times -- White House, Senate reach Fast Track accord -- Senate Democrats won something they prized: federal assistance to help workers who lose their jobs because of competition from imports or other effects of a reduction in trade barriers keep their health care coverage.
...and in a related story -- Factory jobs, then workers, leaving poorest Southern areas -- Smoking Fat Boy -- Krugman column -- As Enron and other energy traders manipulated the California energy market, gouged consumers and reaped huge windfall profits, federal officials, from George W. Bush on down, offered California nothing but sermons on the virtues of the free market.
— In the latest Roll Call -- Pro-NAFTA stance hurt Sawyer (8-term Ohio Rep. who just lost primary)
— In today's L.A. Times -- Perdue, Tyson poultry firms accused of wage, hour violations
— Today from AP -- Clinton presidential library construction on hold over dispute about union labor

WEDNESDAY, May 8 -- In today's Olympian -- BIAW drops anti-collective bargaining effort
...and finally -- Register now for June 1 political endorsement convention
— In today's Seattle P-I -- High court asked to settle state's teacher pay dispute
— In today's Seattle Times -- WEA: Taking a stand for better pay (WEA President Hasse's op-ed)
...and yesterday -- Drunken drivers aren't the answer for county parks (op-ed by SEIU 925 members)
— In today's News-Tribune -- The boom '90s? Household wages drop in many area cities
— In today's Yakima Herald -- Port report: What about wages and population?
— In today's Bellingham Herald -- County crowd objects to tone of contract talks -- Group Health employees join picket line
— In yesterday's Vancouver Columbian -- Sen. Zarelli mulls run for Congress
— In today's Bremerton Sun -- Teachers union votes "no confidence" in CK school officials
Today at -- New report: Working mothers working longer hours
— In today's Washington Post -- Postal Service to cut 8,000 more jobs
— In today's L.A. Times -- "Cash-balance" pension change hurts workers, audit finds -- Enron memos prompt calls for wider investigation of energy trading

TUESDAY, May 7 -- Will new Tacoma Narrows Bridge deck be "Made in Korea?"
— In today's Seattle P-I -- WSLC webmaster late for work, does haphazard job posting links -- Regents ready options for UW budget -- One proposal has 2% raises; other freezes wages.
— In today's Seattle Times -- Saluting a priest who labored for justice (Dionne column)
— In today's Spokesman-Review -- State can't afford Medicaid benefit packages (editorial) (whoa.)
— In today's Oregonian -- Some Norpac growers agree to union organizing
At -- Coalition of 135 groups voice opposition to "backwards-looking" Fast Track
— In today's L.A. Times -- "Smoking gun" memo details Enron manipulation of Calif. energy market
— In today's Washington Post -- Study: Federal contracts given to repeat violators
— In today's Wall Street Journal -- Las Vegas casinos brace for strike
— In today's N.Y. Times -- First wave of strikes in Germany shuts plants

MONDAY, May 6 -- Actor Danny Glover to attend Paul Robeson concert May 18 -- Leafleting this week over non-union Music Man at Paramount
— In Sunday's Olympian -- Labor tells builders to back off on Ref. 52
— In today's News-Tribune -- Thinking small: "Lean manufacturing" at Boeing's Auburn plant -- State, large employers trying to get workers out of driver-only cars
— In today's Everett Herald -- Union endorsement snubs bother county prosecutor
— In today's Spokesman-Review -- Kaiser's legacy rich, and there can be a future -- Laid-off Kaiser PR hacks get all wistful with historical revisionist op-ed: "These men and women, many of them friends, many as pained as we were to stand opposite each other during a terribly divisive strike that neither side wanted and neither could stop because of factors beyond everyone's control..." The strike lasted about three months, the COMPANY LOCKOUT lasted 613 days.
— In Sunday's Eastside Journal -- Start debate on regional transportation plan (editorial)
— In today's Seattle P-I -- Republicans big spenders of public money (Shields column)
— In Sunday's Oregonian -- Skyrocketing health care costs deliver bitter pill
— In today's Salem (Ore.) S-J -- Four run for labor commissioner office
At -- Retirement "boom" is really a bust, new report says
— In today's L.A. Times -- Employers adding lots of overtime, not jobs -- West Coast ports brace for a storm of labor negotiations
— In Sunday's S.F. Chronicle -- UFW could force Gov. Davis' hand on farm labor issue
— In today's N.Y. Times -- Democrats seek ban on corporate use of off-shore tax havens -- With nurses in short supply, patient load becomes a big issue

Previous weeks' news: April 29-May 3 -- April 22-26 -- April 15-19

Volunteer for, donate to NALC Food Drive on Saturday

On Saturday, 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 will also collect the compassion of their postal customers participating in the 10th annual NALC National Food Drive.

Letter carriers will collect nonperishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. More than 1,500 local NALC branches in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions are involved in the drive. The effort by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO and other volunteers is the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

This year, Washington state's letter carriers are asking for your help. Volunteers will be needed that day across the state to assist the letter carriers with loading trucks with the donated food, driving the trucks to food banks and performing other essential tasks.

"A food drive of this magnitude requires a lot of coordination and volunteer work," said Steven Schultz, President of the Washington State Association of Letter Carriers. "We appreciate all of the assistance that the various locals and labor councils have provided in the past. We are again asking for your help."

If you would like to volunteer to assist in this important Food Drive on May 11, it's not too late. Just contact the local branch of your post office and ask who you should speak to about volunteering for the food drive.

For more information on national efforts, visit the NALC site.

Register now for June 1 political endorsement convention

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will hold its COPE Endorsing Convention at the Machinists 751 Hall, 9125 15th Pl. S., Seattle on Saturday, June 1, starting at 9 a.m (with registration opening at 7:30 a.m.)  Affiliated union organizations received their convention calls weeks ago notifying them how many delegates to which they are entitled, plus registration and credentials forms.  (If your local is having trouble locating those forms, contact Diane McDaniel or Karen White at 206-281-8901.)

It is at this convention that the unions that comprise the WSLC will decide which legislative and judicial candidates, and which ballot measures, to endorse in the 2002 elections. Redistricting and narrow political majorities in both Congress and the State Legislature will make this November's election especially important, as will the statewide gas-tax referendum and other initiatives affecting working families.

The preceding evening, the Statewide COPE Committee -- consisting of members of the Washington State Labor Council executive board, Central Labor Councils, WSLC COPE Director Diane McDaniel and a representative from AFSCME, IAM, IBEW, SEIU and UFCW -- will meet to consider recommendations in these races. A representative of any affiliated organization may observe the Statewide COPE proceedings; however, space is limited. The meeting is slated for Friday, May 31st at the WestCoast SeaTac Hotel, 18220 International Blvd. S., starting at 7 p.m.

As each legislative and judicial race is considered, if the Statewide COPE Committee has a recommendation, that motion for endorsement will be made to initiate debate. At the conclusion of debate, a two-thirds majority of the delegates present is necessary for an endorsement to occur.

Members of affiliated unions who are interested in serving as delegates representing their organization at the convention should contact their local or council to inquire about the delegate selection process.

A block of rooms had been set aside for out-of-town delegates at the WestCoast SeaTac Hotel, but were "released" as of May 1. To see if rooms are still available, call (206) 246-5535 and refer to booking #1500 to get a special rate.

Affiliates are asked to return registration forms as soon as possible. Your cooperation in pre-registering your delegates makes the process go much smoother on convention day. Please contact the WSLC at (206) 281-8901 or 1-800-542-0904 if you have any questions.

Will new Tacoma Narrows Bridge deck be "Made in Korea?"

This action alert (see Call to Action below) comes from Dave Johnson, Business Agent for Iron Workers Local 86:

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent by the Iron Workers to Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Congressmen Norm Dicks, Brian Baird, Adam Smith, Jim McDermott and Jay Inslee:

The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, as well as the Washington State and Local building trades councils have vital concerns in reference to foreign steel supply on the Narrows Bridge project.

At a meeting held prior to the legislative session between United Infrastructures of Washington and the Iron Workers, this matter was discussed.  It was decided at that time that due to the tenuous nature and history of the project and our desire to see it move forward with as little opposition as possible, the issue of foreign steel supply and fabrication would be tabled until legislation was in place assuring the bridge's construction.  As this has now been accomplished and contracts are in the process of being finalized it is imperative that our concerns be voiced.

On April 22, following the close of the legislative session, a meeting was held between the Iron Workers, Oregon Ironworks, Tacoma Narrows Constructors and the Dept. of Transportation. At that time it became clear to us that it was the intent of Tacoma Narrows Constructors and the Dept. of Transportation that the bridge deck sections would be contracted to a Korean supplier under Japanese supervision.

The scope of this work involves the supply, fabrication, and pre-assembly of 20,000 tons of structural steel bridge deck sections, which will then be barged in and erected.  This represents approximately 450,000 to 500,000 labor hours in the fabrication, or roughly 250 full-time jobs for a year.

With the States of Washington and Oregon in close competition for the highest unemployment rates in the nation, these are jobs that we cannot afford to sacrifice to foreign competitors who pay substandard wages and who are not subject to the same tax structure or high construction safety standards that we are.  The Steel industry in this country has suffered greatly and is in peril due to actions such as these.

In addition, this is an ideal project to help bridge the skills gap of trained craft persons in the construction industry identified in the year 2000 Washington State Workforce training board study. We are already feeling the pains of this and it is anticipated that by the year 2006 there will be a shortage of 16,500 trained construction workers if we don't take immediate action. We have been aggressively building the apprenticeship base in our state and desperately need jobs like these to complete the equation.

Several Steel fabricators in the Northwest who have the technology, facilities, and are qualified to do this work are extremely interested in participating on the Narrows project.  Oregon Iron Works, who participated in the original selection process, is currently revising their original cost estimates on the project in anticipation of being able to present these figures to the Transportation Commission for consideration.

It has been stated that one of the reasons this work would be contracted overseas is due to superior technology in suspension bridge construction in foreign countries. This is absolutely untrue and there are experts in the field of bridge construction who we wish to have testify that the United States is not only competitive, but is in fact the leader in technology in this field.

The Iron Workers have requested a meeting with the Secretary of Transportation and the Transportation commission through House Speaker Frank Chopp as soon as possible to bring the steel supply and fabrication on the Narrows Bridge back to the Northwest.

CALL TO ACTION: Please show your support by e-mailing Governor Gary Locke, Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald and his Chief of Staff Paula Hammond, and the Washington State Transportation Commission voicing your opposition to foreign steel supply on the Narrows, and that you request this meeting with the Iron Workers union happen immediately.

Actor Danny Glover to attend Paul Robeson concert May 18

Organizers of the Paul Robeson Memorial Concert have just announced that actor and activist Danny Glover will attend the event Saturday, May 18 from noon to 5 p.m. at the U.S.-Canadian border at Peace Arch Park in Blaine. At this event -- celebrating the 50th anniversary of Paul Robeson's historic appearance there for a protest of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s blacklisting agenda -- Glover will read the inspiring speech delivered by Robeson 50 years earlier.

A native of San Francisco, Danny Glover attended San Francisco State College and trained at the Black Actors' Workshop of the American Conservatory Theatre. He first came to national attention for his performance in the New York production of Athol Fugard's Master Harold and the Boys. Not long afterwards, he received widespread critical acclaim for his portrayal of cotton farmer Moze in the Academy Award-winning film Places in the Heart. Since then he has starred in such films as The Color Purple, Silverado, Predator 2, Grand Canyon, A Rage in Harlem, Angels in the Outfield, To Sleep with Anger (which he also executive produced), and the Lethal Weapon series. He earned an Emmy nomination for his supporting role in television's top-rated, Lonesome Dove, and his second NAACP Image Award for his performance in the title role of HBO's Mandela. In 1991, Glover was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

During the height of the McCarthy era in the early 1950s, Paul Robeson—a gifted musician, artist, athlete, scholar and activist—was one of thousands whose career was ruined and legacy tainted by rumor and innuendo. Denied permission to leave the United States and sing at a Mine Mill Conference in Vancouver, B.C., in January 1952, Robeson stood on the back of a flatbed truck on May 18, 1952, at Peace Arch Park and sang songs of defiance and solidarity to some 40,000 people at the border.

Now 50 years later, that event will be commemorated with another concert on the border that aims to bring together thousands of people of conscience from Canada and the U.S. to celebrate the life and achievements of Paul Robeson and to build solidarity among those who are working for change. Organizers are planning inspiring music and many other activities, including banner making, a graffiti wall, video displays, giant puppets, information tables, roving artists, and history in the form of memorabilia from the original concert. And it will all be free of charge to the general public.

A group called the "Here We Stand" Committee, which includes a number of representatives of Canadian and American cultural and social activists, is organizing the event. According to the committee’s literature, "Some of the issues we face today would be familiar to Robeson: solidarity in the face of war, racism and oppression; others have new names such as globalization or neo-liberalism, but the struggle is the same."

Bus transportation from Seattle is available:

  • Freedom Bus (leaving Seattle) sponsored by Mothers for Police Accountability; contact Lonnie Nelson at (206) 324-3879
  • A. Philip Randolph Institute Bus; contact Verlene Wilder at (206) 441-7102

For more information, visit the Here We Stand event website at, or contact the AFL-CIO's Bob Gorman at (206) 281-8901 or Earle Peach of the Here We Stand Committee at (604) 874-1256.

Leafleting this week over non-union Music Man at Paramount

Union members and supporters are invited to participate in leafleting outside Seattle's Paramount Theater this Tuesday and Friday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in protest of the non-union touring production of "The Music Man" which runs at the theater June 4-9.

Part of the "Broadway at the Paramount" series, The Music Man has been sent out without an American Federation of Musicians or Actors Equity contract while the all-union show is still playing on Broadway. Although the touring stage crew is covered by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees contract and the Paramount has contracts with three IATSE locals, both the AFM and AE have attempted to negotiate agreements for the stage managers, actors and musicians in this show, with no success. Performers in the production do not receive health benefits, and are earning about half of what those in the union shows are earning, while the Paramount charges full price tickets.

The AFL-CIO is supporting a boycott of The Music Man, and locally AFM and AE are encouraging supporters to turn in their tickets for a refund and encourage their organizations, employers and community groups not to buy group tickets to the Paramount shows. The King County Labor Council and Washington State Jobs With Justice are among the organizations assisting in leafleting efforts.

To make sure Paramount patrons know about the Music Man issues before they purchase tickets, protesters plan to leaflet outside this week's "Guys and Dolls" performances Tuesday, May 7; Friday, May 10 (with live music provided by the Seattle Labor Chorus); and before/during all performances of The Music Man from June 4-9. Mark your calendars! And bring your organization's banner to show your support!

Meet outside of Kinko's in the Convention Center (735 Pike Street, Seattle). If you cannot make the 6:30 meeting time, come find us at 7 pm at the Paramount (corner of 9th and Pine).

For more information, please contact Marti Schmidt of AFM Local 76-493 at 206-441-7600 or Verlene Wilder, KCLC Union Cities Organizer, at 206-441-8510.

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 © 2002  Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO