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to today's news.

WSLC Reports
FRIDAY, April 21

April 17-21
April 10-14
March 27-31

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.

MONDAY, APRIL 24  ■  Rally and March for Health Care this Wednesday in Renton -- Add your voice to send a strong message: it's time to take on the Wal-Mart health care crisis!
■  From AP -- Labor ad blitz to blast execs -- CTW launches a drive to organize millions in service industries with TV ads highlighting the gulf between pay and benefits for executives and workers. 
■  Today from AP -- Wal-Mart battle takes cues from politics -- There is no candidate. There are no ballots. There won't be an Election Day. And yet it may be the hottest, highest-stakes political contest in America today. It's the campaign against Wal-Mart.

Also today:
■  At --
Everett school staff to picket district TODAY for quality education

Pacific Northwest news:
■  In today’s Olympian --
Labor & Industries pauses to honor fallen workers (op-ed by L&I Director Weeks) -- Learn more about Worker Memorial Day events planned throughout the state this week.
■  In Sunday’s Bellingham Herald --
State's minimum wage law doesn't slow economy (column) -- When the initiative passed, I wondered what it would mean to the state, especially for jobs where employees work for tips... It now seems to me that voters have made this state a more desirable place to live, creating a more vibrant economy. (Also, check out Rick Bender's column on this subject.)
■  In Saturday’s Tri-City Herald -- Asparagus packer opens in Pasco -- What's being billed as the largest asparagus fresh packing facility in the world is welcomes by growers who had planned to plow out their crops after Dayton's Seneca plant closed last year and moved to Peru. 
■  In today’s Seattle Times --
Going my way (editorial) -- Ron Sims' forward-looking proposal for new buses and routes tries to break down barriers to bus travel by dramatically upgrading service.
■  In the PS Business Journal -- The union replies (letter from IATSE 488's David Robinson) -- Not surprisingly, the EFF got just about every detail regarding the job action in Spokane backwards.
■  In the PS Business Journal -- Union for two Seattle newspapers debates its role -- The Committee for a Two-Newspaper Town also reopening wounds within the union, with members split over whether the union should keep bankrolling the citizens group.
■  In today’s Olympian -- Sonntag reveals performance audit plan -- The the departments of Transportation and Social and Health Services are high on the list of state auditor's targets.
■  In today’s Oregonian -- Sheet metal worker is out of place -- and loves it -- Cyndy Chan overthrows stereotypes just by walking onto a job site. In a field still filled mainly with older white men, she is a 5-foot-2 Chinese American woman, an activist and musician with a tattoo for a wedding ring. Even before winning a national championship last month, she was acclaimed as an example of success women can achieve in the trades. (The Women in Trades Fair is this Friday at the Seattle Center.)

Immigration news:
■  From AP -- Both parties fear backlash from immigration legislation -- The deadlock in Congress virtually ensures that there will no changes in immigration laws until after this fall's elections.
■  In today’s NY Times --
Senators to reignite debate on immigration -- Some are urging President Bush to mediate personally the sharp differences among Republicans on the volatile issue.
■  In today’s Seattle P-I -- Immigration: Target employers (editorial) -- By raiding even a few employers, the administration has captured the attention of other firms exploiting immigrants.
■  From AP -- Immigrants do dangerous work in meat industry -- The eastern Europeans who flocked to Chicago's bustling stockyards 100 years ago to do the back-breaking and dangerous work have been replaced by Mexican and Central American immigrants.

Political news:
■  In Sunday’s Spokesman-Review -- Measuring McMorris -- The first-term congresswoman insists she's not trying to be Pollyanna on the Palouse, rather, she's trying to overcome some of the pessimism that Congress cultivates in Washington, D.C., and spreads to the rest of the country.
■  Today from AP -- Ballot initiatives evolve in their use; hot issues used to turn out voters
■  In today’s Wash. Post -- Democrats suggest double standard on leaks -- The CIA prosecutes leaks while the White House gives reporters secretly declassified information for political purposes.

National news:
■  In today's NY Times --
The Transit Union chief's long march to jail -- Roger Toussaint, who headed a 60-hour transit shutdown in December, begins a 10-day sentence today. His send-off will be a march across the Brooklyn Bridge with union members and labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Transit workers are planning to hold vigils outside the jail each day.
■  In today’s Washington Post -- FAA readies hiring plan to fill controllers' ranks -- It's time to replace air traffic controllers again -- this time not because of a strike, but because of retirements.
■  In today’s LA Times -- Senate, House at odds over pensions -- Debate over a possible compromise is delaying a bill to shore up firms' defined-benefit plans.
■  In today’s NY Times -- Anointed, not appointed (editorial) -- Bush's high-handed attitude toward his own majority in Congress keeps getting worse; when will the GOP notice they're being insulted?

■  In Sunday’s LA Times -- Bush's third term: Cheney should go (editorial) -- If President Bush hopes the "shake-up" of his administration initiated last week will re-energize his listless presidency, he's bound to be disappointed. A far more audacious makeover is needed — one that sends Vice President Dick Cheney into early retirement.
■  Today from Reuters -- L.A. Times editorial calls for Cheney's ouster -- Cheney says he has no intention of resigning. "I didn't ask for this job. I didn't campaign for it. I got drafted," he says. (Funny. Our recollection was that then-candidate George W. Bush asked Cheney to develop a list of qualified vice presidential candidates, and the list came back: "Me.")



Previous weeks' news: April 17-21 -- April 10-14 -- March 27-31

MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2006
Rally and March for Health Care this Wednesday in Renton

Join your voice with hundreds of others to send a strong message: it's time to take on the Wal-Mart health care crisis!

All union members and community activists are encouraged to attend a Rally and March for Health Care this Wednesday, April 26 beginning at 4 p.m. at Renton City Hall, 1055 S. Grady Way. The event is part of the Change to Win Coalition's "Make Work Pay" campaign and is being organized by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, a chartered affiliate of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Wal-Mart is leading a "race to the bottom" on health care benefits. Its business model very deliberately shifts these labor costs onto taxpayers by offering benefit plans its employees can't afford and then expecting taxpayers and public health plans to pick up their slack.

  • 775,000 Wal-Mart employees receive no health benefits from the company -- that's 57% of their workforce.

  • $1.37 billion in Wal-Mart health care costs were shifted from the company to taxpayers in 2005.

  • 46% of the children of Wal-Mart employees are uninsured or receive health coverage through taxpayer-funded plans.

It's time for taxpayers and others concerned about this race to the bottom on health benefits to stand up and be counted. Come to Wednesday's rally, and bring surgical masks or stethoscopes, wear your scrubs if you work in health care, or bring along other props. 

Parking is limited, so please park at the Park and Ride three blocks west on Grady Way. Renton City Hall is on or near the routes of the following Metro buses: #101, 148, 153, 167, 240 and 280.

Click here to download an event flier. For more information, contact UFCW 21 Organizer Sarah Bright at 425-653-6506.


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