Reports for December 1-5, 2003
Previous weeks' news: Nov.
18-21 -- Nov.
10-14 -- Nov.
TO ACTION: Final
push to save overtime pay; vote Monday
December 5 -- Support
locked-out Teamsters: Don't buy Darigold products!
— In today's Seattle Times -- 7E7
team wants Everett; board to meet Dec. 15
-- Boeing executives have long said the 7E7 site
decision would be based on bottom-line factors such as the cost of workers,
taxes and regulations. But in the final analysis, other factors played a
major role, the insider said, including the potential impact on the morale
of the Puget Sound work force if the 7E7 went elsewhere. Boeing, which has
cut some 26,000 jobs here since it moved its headquarters to Chicago, needs
cooperation from its unions and from nonunion workers as it continues to
introduce aggressive, lean production techniques that will entail some
downsizing and outsourcing.
Also today -- 500-plus home care workers
ratify 1st contract at Spokane's Addus
— In today's Spokesman-Review
workers go public with frustrations of stalled 1st contract
— In today's Seattle Times
of Boeing tanker deal could put 500 jobs "at risk"
...plus -- Could
timber tariffs end like steel did?
— In today's News Tribune -- Forest-thinning
initiative could create new jobs
— In today's Yakima H-R -- State
adopts rule for checking farm workers for pesticide exposure
...plus -- Sen.
Honeyford loses out as GOP chooses suburban moderate Finkbeiner as leader
— In today's Olympian -- GOP
senators pick Finkbeiner to be new majority leader
— In yesterday's Daily News -- Powell's
City of Books struggles with bitter labor dispute (AP)
— In today's Oregonian -- Oregonians:
Halt free-trade accord
At AFLCIO.org -- Bush's
steel tariff decision: "A betrayal of workers"
— In today's L.A. Times -- Bush
rescinds steel tariffs, says aims met
— In today's Washington Post -- Pentagon
advisor's article on tanker deal didn't disclose Boeing tie
— In today's N.Y. Times -- Dean's
organizers take lessons from labor
...plus -- Looking
to the future -- Krugman column: (Bush)
governs like there's no tomorrow. Nothing
in our national experience prepared us for the spectacle of a government
launching a war, increasing farm subsidies and establishing an expensive new
Medicare entitlement, and not only failing to come up with a plan to pay for
all this in the face of budget deficits, but cutting taxes at the same time.
Dec. 4 --
Rep. Baird co-sponsor Employee Free Choice Act
— In today's Spokesman-Review -- Spokane
jobs move across the border -- Garment maker
relocates 75-plus jobs to Idaho, blaming Washington's high minimum wage and
saying he either keeps wages and business costs down or he loses the work to
competitors in Mexico, China or Indonesia.
— In today's Olympian -- WEA
sues state over required pay hikes for new teachers
...plus -- Citing
Marysville strike, senator urges binding arbitration for teacher contracts
— In today's Everett Herald -- Boeing
tanker deal damage control begins (AP)
— In today's King Co. Journal -- Stonecipher's
MD history may not mean much today
— In today's Seattle P-I -- Sounder
commuter rail over budget -- again
— In today's Bellingham Herald -- 2nd
PUD drops out of BPA deal
...plus -- 2
PUDs need to offer alternatives (editorial)
...plus -- Employees
quit medication after drug plans are altered (AP)
— In today's Yakima H-R -- Group
lays foundation for farmworker housing solution
— In today's Oregonian -- Petitions
submitted to put repeal of $800 million tax increase on ballot
— In today's N.Y. Times -- Bush
set to lift tariffs on steel
...plus -- Boeing
lags in building satellites -- Boeing is more than a year behind
schedule and billions of dollars over cost on a highly classified program to
build the next generation of reconnaissance satellites, forcing the
government to shift an estimated $4 billion from other spy programs.
...plus -- Colorado's
new school voucher law struck down by state court
— In today's Miami Herald -- AFL-CIO
seeks probe of Miami police conduct outside FTAA meetings
— In today's L.A. Times -- Grocery
strike animates unions -- Op-ed: The 70,000 striking grocery workers
received a much-needed morale boost when the Teamsters union announced it
would honor their picket lines. But the Teamster action has an even broader
significance: It suggests a return to labor's roots and the rebirth of labor
...plus -- Gephardt
joins California grocery pickets in show of worker support
— In today's Washington Post -- Alleging
retaliation threat, 2 labor leaders want Gephardt aide fired
— In today's Seattle P-I -- Boeing
tanker purchase put on hold
— In today's News Tribune -- 767
might not survive scandal (AP)
...plus -- In
dark days, Boeing turned its back on people and lost its light (column)
— In the P.S. Business Journal -- Boeing
loses out to Airbus with Qantas' new low-fare carrier
— In today's Spokesman-Review -- GOP
set to pick new State Senate leader Thursday
— In today's Seattle Times -- Major
donor says he's cutting off state Dems over Dean favoritism
— In today's News Tribune -- Tacoma
city workers to get raises
— In yesterday's Columbian -- NEA
audit: IRS rightly studying books of teachers' union (editorial)
At AFLCIO.org -- Sweeney
letter to Bush: Steel tariffs are working; we must keep them
— In today's N.Y. Times -- Bush
urged to maintain steel tariffs, says he's still undecided
...plus -- Sen.
Lieberman proposes new payroll deduction to fund paid family leave program
— In today's Boston Globe -- Organized
labor plans day of protest (Dec. 10) next week
— Today at BusinessWeek online -- U.S.
programmers at overseas salaries -- Rather than send
IT work to India, a Boston startup sought locals at the same money. The
result: plenty of applicants -- and a lot of questions.
Dec. 2 -- WSLC
welcomes news of reduced hike in L&I premiums
— In today's Olympian -- L&I
boosts workers' comp rates 9.8% for employers, employees
— In today's Bellingham Herald -- L&I
to boost rates 9.8%; panel to study workers' comp reform (AP)
— In today's Seattle P-I -- New
Boeing leader Stonecipher says he's strong supporter of 7E7
...plus -- Rank-and-file:
"We are doomed" -- Also see other worker reaction stories in
Herald, the King
Co. Journal, the P.S.
Business Journal , the News
Tribune and the Seattle
— In today's Everett Herald -- Feelings
won't decide where the 7E7 is built (editorial)
— In today's Seattle Times -- Teamsters
warn they may raise a stink over landfill hours
— In today's Seattle P-I -- Sims'
garbage plan still shaky; parties at odds, so are labor organizations
— In today's Yakima H-R -- Producers
need to follow Wal-Mart's lead on "efficiency," says prof
At SaveOvertimePay.org -- Sign
online petition telling Bush to withdraw OT pay takeaway
— In today's Washington Post -- AFL-CIO
sues to block Bush's new financial reporting rules
...plus, breaking news -- Voters
topple Washington state ergonomics rule -- "(It) sends a shot
across the bow to other state legislatures thinking about passing
regulations in this area," says Chamber.
...plus -- The
politics of payoff -- Dionne column: President
Bush doesn't care a whit about deficits. That's because he is not a fiscal
conservative. He is a political conservative out to buy himself a majority
in 2004 and spending the next generation's money to do it.
— In today's N.Y. Times -- President
in a political vise over steel tariff decision
...plus -- Trading
favors -- Editorial: Steel companies warn that lifting the tariffs would
amount to a "broken promise" that could cost Mr. Bush dearly.
Rank-and-file steelworkers might sound equally disappointed if their union
had not already endorsed Richard Gephardt's presidential candidacy.
— In the new Labor Notes -- SoCal
grocery workers fight health cuts, job loss to vendors
— In the Sacramento Business Journal -- Safeway
digs in for longer strike
— In today's L.A. Times -- California
AG to probe grocers' profit-sharing as possible antitrust violation
Dec. 1 -- Tuesday
night hearing: Do local employers violate human rights?
...plus -- Human Rights Violations Can Happen
Here, Too (column by WSLC President Bender)
— In today's Seattle P-I -- Boeing
chairman Condit resigns -- Board decides "a new structure for the
leadership of the company is needed;" names Lewis Platt, a Boeing board
member and retired chairman of Hewlett-Packard, as non-executive chairman
and Harry Stonecipher, who retired from Boeing last year, as president and
chief executive officer.
— In today's N.Y. Times -- Boeing
chief Condit steps down a week after firings over ethics
— In Sunday's Bremerton Sun -- Boeing
board's decision: Build 7E7 or lose (more) face (AP)
— In today's Seattle Times -- Once
great Boeing has drifted far off course (op-ed)
...plus -- Pesticide
testing ahead for many of state's farmworkers
...plus last week -- State
convict labor program comes under attack
...plus -- Wal-Mart's
empire reshaping workplace and Wal-Mart
wrings efficiency from Third World
— In the P.S. Business Journal -- Hard
feelings at WestFarm/Darigold -- Locked out since August, Teamster dairy
workers head to local groceries to urge boycott of WestFarm's dairy goods.
— In the Olympian -- Lawmakers
finally eye a "no-brainer" session -- Note bulleted item at
bottom: (SEIU has) pointedly invited Republican legislative leaders to its
annual retreat and stiff-armed Democrats. The SEIU "remains
outraged" at their treatment by Democrats in the last session and are
"seriously considering a more bipartisan strategy in the 2004
elections," the union says.
— In today's News Tribune -- Will
tax hikes for roads, rail fly? leaders ask
— In today's King County Journal -- King
County librarians say contract talks stalled
— In today's Seattle P-I -- No
news is good news at AT&T Wireless -- Company blocks employees from
Internet access to newspaper story about the outsourcing of their jobs.
— In the Seattle Weekly -- Xporting
tech jobs: Outsourcing hitting home for local tech workers
— In today's Salem (Ore.) S-J -- Federal
one-stop job training centers not measuring up
— In today's Oregonian -- State's
new slogan: We Love Dreamers (to compete with WA's "We Suck")
— In today's Bellingham Herald -- Medicare
change a raw deal for state's seniors (Rep. Larsen op-ed)
Last week at AFLCIO.org -- Senate
approves "first step toward dismantling Medicare"
— In the Boston Globe -- Unions
moving (again) to protect overtime pay
— Today at MSNBC.com -- Grocers,
union to resume contract talks on Tuesday
— In today's Washington Post -- President
Bush to drop tariffs on steel
...plus -- No
way to govern -- Editorial: As lawmakers headed home last week, they had
completed work on just six of the 13 appropriations bills. Now the plan is
to jam the rest into a $820 billion omnibus spending bill that includes
non-budget items like defying the will of both houses on the new overtime
pay rules and some others yet to be even debated. And it's not open to any
— In today's N.Y. Times -- As
stimulus, tax cuts may soon go awry -- The one mitigating factor in
President Bush's tax cuts has been economic stimulus. The tax cuts are
helping to revive the economy by putting more spending money into people's
pockets. But even that will soon backfire.
— From AP -- AFL-CIO
facing major financial woes; staff taking unpaid leave to avoid layoffs
Previous weeks' news: Nov.
18-21 -- Nov.
10-14 -- Nov.
Final push to save overtime pay; vote
The good news is that, in just four days,
more than 100,000 people have signed the petition at www.saveovertimepay.org
to protect overtime pay standards and urge President Bush to abandon his
attempts to deny time-and-a-half pay to some 8 million workers.
The bad news is that, after bipartisan votes
in both the U.S. House and Senate to block Bush's OT pay cuts, the U.S.
House of Representatives plans to vote on federal spending legislation and
it appears the provision to block Bush's overtime pay take-away has been
removed from the bill because of back-room maneuvering by the Bush
administration. That vote will happen when the U.S. House returns
to for one day on Monday, Dec. 8.
ACTION: The will of Congress and the American public must
not be denied! Language blocking Bush's overtime pay cuts must be
added back in!
your U.S. representative and tell him or her: "Please vote against the
omnibus funding bill if it doesn't include overtime pay protections.
No worker should lose the right to overtime pay. This is one of the
issues I will use to judge your commitment to working people."
- Rep. Jay INSLEE, D-1st, at (202)
225-6311 or (425) 640-0233
- Rep. Rick LARSEN,
D-2nd, at (202) 225-2605 or (425) 252-3188
- Rep. Brian BAIRD,
D-3rd, at (202) 225-3536 or (360) 695-6292
"Doc" HASTINGS, R-4th, at (202) 225-5816 or (509)
- Rep. George NETHERCUTT,
R-5th, at (202) 225-2006 or (509) 353-2374
- Rep. Norm DICKS,
D-6th, at (202) 225-5916 or (253) 593-6536
- Rep. Jim McDERMOTT,
D-7th, at (202) 225-3106 or (206) 553-7170
- Rep. Jennifer DUNN,
R-8th, at (202) 225-7761 or (206) 275-3438
- Rep. Adam SMITH,
D-9th, at (202) 225-8901 or (253) 593-6600
All calls must be made before the vote on
Monday, so please take a few moments to make this important call RIGHT
And thank you for your efforts to protect
Support locked-out Teamsters: Don't
buy Darigold products!
Since August 30, some 200
workers in Issaquah and Seattle represented by Teamsters Local 66 have been
locked out of their jobs by WestFarm Foods, a cooperative of 722 dairy
farmers that produces dairy products under the brand name Darigold. The
company has fired 60 drivers, subcontracted 14 union jobs to a non-union
warehouse and hired scab replacement workers to keep the plants open.
This holiday season, these 200
locked-out workers now find themselves not only without a paycheck, but
without health insurance for their families. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Here's
what you can do to show solidarity with these workers and to help end this
ALL DARIGOLD DAIRY PRODUCTS! Please refuse to purchase any
Darigold products this holiday season and until WestFarm Foods ends the
lockout and negotiates in good faith for a new contract. Check out www.darigold.com
for a complete list of products to avoid.
At the request of Teamsters
Local 66 -- which is not affiliated with the Washington State Labor Council
-- the AFL-CIO has just added Darigold to the national boycott list. That
means the WSLC and King County Labor Council can now promote this ongoing
boycott. The Teamsters also have begun a radio advertising campaign to
publicize the boycott.
WESTFARM FOODS CEO John Mueller and tell him you support the
locked out workers and you refuse to buy any more Darigold products.
You can write Mueller at WestFarm Foods, 635 Elliott Ave. West, Seattle,
WA, 98119; you can fax a letter to him at (206) 281-3456; or you can send
an e-mail to his attention at Contact.WestFarm@WestFarm.com.
Here is a sample letter to get you started:
Dear Mr. Mueller:
As a union
leader/member/supporter in the __________ area, I am deeply concerned
that WestFarm/Darigold has locked out and fired many long-term dedicated
employees in the Puget Sound region. Darigold's actions create a
hardship not only for those employees and their families, but places a
burden on the entire community.
I urge you to return all
locked out and fired employees to their jobs, and then to work toward a
fair contract agreement with these workers. Until that time, i
will honor the AFL-CIO's national boycott of Darigold products and urge
our members to do the same.
GROCERY STORES: The Teamsters are leafleting outside
grocery stores around the Puget Sound area to inform shoppers about the
WestFarm dispute, and urge them to refuse to buy Darigold products. Your
help is critical with this important work. Check out the online schedules
Boycott Team Locations for more information.
A DONATION to the locked out workers' relief fund, and
encourage your union or community organization to do the same. This will
help these union families struggling to meet basic needs this holiday
season. Make your check payable to Teamsters Local 66 and note that it is
for the members' relief fund, and mail it to IBT Local 66 at 552 Denny
Way, Seattle, WA, 98109.
THIS MESSAGE to everyone in your Address Book. Add a
personal note to your friends, co-workers and family across the country to
please stop buying any Darigold products.
Thank you for supporting these
workers and the Darigold boycott! For more information about this
labor dispute, visit www.local66.org.
500+ home care workers ratify 1st
contract at Spokane's Addus
The following press release has
been distributed by Service Employees International Union Local 775:
Home Care Workers Ratify First Union Contract With Addus For Raise,
Dental, & Vision Benefits
Contract Agreement Follows “Card Check” Recognition For Workers At
Largest Home Care Agency In
-- More than 500 home care workers have ratified a first union contract
with Addus, the largest private home care agency in
and the second largest in the state. The agreement, which includes a
seniority-based wage scale with significant increases for all workers,
dental benefits and vision coverage, followed an unusually non-contentious
campaign by workers to form a union, in which Addus recognized the union
after a majority signed cards seeking union representation.
“This contract will help ensure that
vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities can find qualified
caregivers to help them live in their own homes,” said
home care worker Susie Young. “With poverty wages and poor benefits,
turnover is high and it’s often hard for people to do this kind of work.
Getting this raise and getting dental and vision coverage will make a big
difference for home care workers.”
The contract provides for:
A first-ever wage
scale, with pay starting at $8.32/hr and moving up to $9.02/hr based on
experience. Workers will receive an immediate raise retroactive to October
1 of between $.62/hr and $1.07/hr.
Dental benefits for
the first time, with the employer paying half the monthly premium for
Vision benefits for
the first time
initiative” that will help workers increase their hours
Workers at Addus joined together with SEIU Local 775 through a
“card-check” process in which the employer recognizes a union once a
majority of workers sign cards saying they want union representation. The
process avoids a lengthy and generally contentious election, in which
employers use heavy-handed and often illegal tactics to discourage workers
from joining a union.
“When workers are given the choice of joining together with their
co-workers without being threatened and intimidated by their employers,
time and time again they choose overwhelmingly to form a union,” said
SEIU Local 775 President
. “All workers should have that freedom – not just those lucky
enough to work for a responsible employer like Addus.”
The effort by workers to win a first union contract is often as
contentious as the drive to form a union itself, and employers often drag
out contract negotiations for months or even years. In this case, it took
only three months for workers to gain union recognition and negotiate and
ratify their first union contract.
“This shows what can happen when enlightened employers respect the
bargaining process and work quickly to reach a reasonable agreement,”
said Rolf. “With politicians in Olympia cutting funding for home care
services and forcing seniors onto a waiting list to get home care, we’re
excited about having a positive relationship with Addus and working
together with them to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities can
get quality care in their own homes. We invite other home care agencies
who share these goals to join with us as well.”
The agreement follows ratification of a union agreement by 1500 SEIU Local
775 home care workers at Catholic Community Services, the state’s
largest home care agency. The CCS agreement established a seniority-based
wage scale with a raise of at least 75-cents/hour for all home care
Several thousand other Spokane-area home care workers who are paid
directly by the state to care for elderly and disabled clients are still
waiting for the legislature to honor and fund their union contract.
more information contact SEIU 775 Communications Director Adam Glickman at
email@example.com or (206)
Sen. Murray, Rep. Baird co-sponsor
Employee Free Choice Act
Act now to urge ALL of Washington's
delegation to protect the freedom to join unions
The law says you have the right
to join a union, and that you have the right to make that decision free from
intimidation, harassment and coercion by your employer. But those laws
are not being enforced in America. So the labor movement has launched
the Voice@Work campaign
to restore the freedom to organize unions.
As part of that effort, historic
legislation called the Employee
Free Choice Act was introduced Nov. 13 in Congress. This bill is
intended to articulate the kind of labor law reform that will ultimately be
necessary level the playing field for American workers and restore the
freedom to organize unions.
10 in Seattle
Rights Are Human Rights Rally will be held next week on
Wednesday, Dec. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Jackson
Federal Building, 2nd
& Marion in downtown Seattle featuring music, theater and
December 10 is a National
Day of Voice@Work Action in cities throughout the U.S. marking
the anniversary of the United Nations' adoption in 1948 of The
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes
international labor rights to join unions that are binding in many
countries, but not the United States. According to a recent Human
Rights Watch report: "Legal obstacles tilt the playing
field so steeply against workers' freedom of association that the
United States is in violation of international human rights
standards for workers."
The Dec. 10 rally is co-sponsored
by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; King County Labor
Council, AFL-CIO; Pierce County Labor Council, AFL-CIO;
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers;
Washington State Jobs with Justice; and many other labor
by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), members
of Washington state's delegation to Congress are beginning to sign onto the
legislation as well. Sen. Patty Murray has joined 23
U.S. Senators who have sponsored the measure to date. Rep.
Brian Baird joins 81
U.S. Representatives who have signed the bill.
Employee Free Choice Act would:
(Links are to PDF files at AFLCIO.org
explaining the necessity for each in more detail.)
ACTION: Act to protect the freedom to join a union! We
need to contact all members of Washington state's congressional delegation
and urge them to co-sponsor this important measure. (We also need to
thank Sen. Murray and Rep. Baird for their strong support.) CLICK
HERE to send a message to your Representative and Senators.
The Voice@Work campaign involves
much, much more than seeking more laws to protect our rights. It will
involve taking those rights back on our own.
The first step is to educate
policymakers, pundits, the community and even our own rank-and-file members
about the disturbing realities faced every day by working families who want
to improve their living and working conditions through a union.
Earlier this week, local political,
religious and community leaders heard testimony from workers who have been
denied their legal right to organize unions at a Workers' Rights Board
Hearing in Seattle organized by Washington State Jobs with Justice.
They heard from a seafood
processing ship worker among a group charged with “mutiny” for
protesting an increase to a 16½-hour work day, a worker at a local Catholic
hospital with a mission of “respect, justice and compassion” that hired
a union busting firm to terrorize workers into voting against the union, and
a local worker active in an organizing campaign who was fired for having
These are local examples that
reflect what happens all over the country. Research by Cornell
University's Kate Brofenbrenner indicates that when workers try to organize
Force 92% of workers to
attend anti-union meetings
Illegally fire workers in
25% of organizing campaigns
50% Threaten to shut down if
Please become an active part of
the historic Voice@Work campaign, and urge your union to do so as
well. You can start by attending -- and bringing friends, family and
co-workers -- to a major rally planned in Seattle next week on Wednesday.
Dec. 10. Learn more about this rally.
WSLC welcomes news of reduced hike in
Workers' comp rate hike smaller than
business-backed UI tax increase
The Washington State Labor
Council welcomed Monday's announcement by the state Department of Labor and
Industries that the agency will reduce its proposed 2004 workers'
compensation premium increase from 19.4% to 9.8%.
"We are pleased that the
increase has been kept to single digits, at less than 10 percent," said
WSLC Secretary-Treasurer Alan O. Link. "The lower rate increase is
especially helpful since the business-backed unemployment insurance changes
have created a 14 percent UI tax increase beginning in January."
The Employment Security
Department and organized labor warned last legislative session that the $173
million UI tax increase would be unavoidable under the UI "reform"
successfully pushed by business lobbying groups. But apparently lawmakers
and business groups were willing to accept significant UI tax increases in
the short term in order to achieve the major benefit cuts designed to reduce
UI taxes, especially for big employers, in the long term. (See a 1-page
summary of the UI changes and the June 3
WSLC Legislative Update outlining labor's UI proposal that
would have frozen UI rates and avoided the 14% tax increase.)
The WSLC welcomes L&I's
announcement of a lower workers' compensation rate increase not just because
it's good news for businesses struggling in a weak national economy, but
because it will directly benefit Washington workers who pay a significant
portion of L&I costs. Washington is the only state in the nation where
workers pay; on average, about 23% of the premiums collected by the state
Department of Labor and Industries to cover the cost of on-the-job injuries.
However, the WSLC also cautioned
that L&I's contingency reserve fund must remain strong enough to
withstand continued economic weakness and potential stock market declines in
Even with the announced
increase, the cost of Washington’s public workers’ compensation system
still ranks below at least 30 other states, according to L&I estimates.
The most recent state rankings, performed in 2002 by the Oregon Department
of Consumer and Business Services, listed Washington as having the 7th
lowest premiums in the nation. Most other western states with private
insurance systems have much higher costs and premiums.
"We don’t want to end up
like California, where workers’ comp costs come out of the general fund,
and premium increases have skyrocketed," Link said.
The Department of L&I held
several public hearings to discuss the proposed 2004 premium increase.
Although the business community enjoyed eight years of stable and reduced
premiums before 2003, the hearings revealed serious reservations among
employers about the originally proposed 19.4% increase. A number of issues
were raised about how the workers' compensation system could be changed to
increase efficiency and lower costs.
In response, Governor Gary Locke
has announced the formation of a panel of business and labor leaders to
examine long-term changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system.
WSLC President Rick Bender has agreed to serve on that panel.
Also see L&I's
Monday news release about the reduced rate increase.
Political, religious and community leaders will
hear testimony from workers who say they have been denied their legal right
to organize unions at a Workers' Rights Board Hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
Tuesday night at the University Baptist Church, 4554
12th Ave. N.E., in Seattle's University District.
Tuesday night hearing: Do employers
violate human rights?
Are local employers violating human rights? Consider the following
Seafood processing ship workers were charged with “mutiny” for
protesting an increase to a 16½-hour work day. A local Catholic
hospital with a mission of “respect, justice and compassion” hired a
union busting firm to terrorize workers into voting against the union.
A local worker active in an organizing campaign was fired for having
Come hear from hospital workers, carpenters, painters,
machinists and other workers who are struggling for their rights on the job
at Tuesday night's hearing. There will also be expert testimony from Dr.
Stephen Bezrucha of the University of Washington School of Public Health and
Community Medicine, and Tracy Lai, a professor at Seattle Central Community
College. Panelists will include State Senator Rosa Franklin (D-20th), State
Rep. John McCoy (D-38th) and other elected officials and community leaders.
You'll hear about local examples that reflect what happens all over the
country. When workers try to organize unions, employers (research by Kate
Brofenbrenner, Cornell University):
Some 42 million Americans who say they want a union don’t have one.
Does the National Labor Relations Board, the very institution that is
supposed to protect workers’ right to organize in the United States, now
throw obstacles in the path of workers who try to organize?
- Force 92% of workers to attend anti-union meetings
- Illegally fire workers in 25% of organizing campaigns
- 50% threaten to shut down if employees unionize
Workers are supposed to have basic freedoms on the job.
“Everyone has the right to
freedom of peaceful assembly and association… Everyone has the right to
form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”
-- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(passed on December 10, 1948, by 80% of U.N. Member States)
The Workers Rights' Board Hearing is coordinated
by Washington State Jobs with Justice; for more info, call Maya
Baxter at (206) 441-4969. Download
an event flier with more detail (MS Word). The hearing is part of the Voice@Work
campaign to raise public awareness about the right to organize unions, and
to restore those rights in the United States.