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August 22, 2007

Tuesday. August 21
Monday, August 20
Friday, August 17
Wednesday, August 15

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.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 22  ▪  Teamsters vote to end 7-week strike against Celite in Quincy

Also today:  ▪   2007 workers' compensation conference will be Oct. 3-4 in Wenatchee

Election 2007:  ▪  Visit your county auditor's website for the latest primary election results.
▪  In today's Yakima H-R -- King unseats Sen. Clements in marquee 14th District race -- Sen. Jim Clements (R-Selah) calls it a career as political newcomer Curtis King sweeps past him after campaigning as a candidate who would bring a more hard-line Republican approach to Olympia.
▪  In today's Everett Herald - Rep. Brian Sullivan winning council race -- He is one step closer to winning an open seat after returns show he has a strong lead over state Sen. Jean Berkey.
▪  In today's Everett Herald -- Rep. Lovick, Greene lead in Snohomish County sheriff's race
▪  In today's Seattle Times -- King County Councilwoman Jane Hague faces drunk driving charges

Election 2008: 
▪  From AP -- Bush to visit Bellevue to raise money for Reichert -- The president will speak on Monday at a closed-door reception at the Hyatt Regency hosted by Rep. Dave Reichert's campaign and the state GOP.
▪  In today's Washington Post -- White House manual details how to deal with protesters -- Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.
▪  At Postman on Politics -- How much help did Rove give Reichert? -- The Washington Post provides the most detailed look yet at how hard Rove worked to make sure the Bush administration was doing everything it could to help Republican candidates in 2004, including Rep. Dave Reichert.
▪  In today's NY Times -- Stacking the electoral deck (editorial) -- The Electoral College should be abolished, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. A prominent Republican lawyer in California is doing it the wrong way, promoting a sneaky initiative that would rig elections in a way to make it difficult for a Democrat to be elected president, no matter how the popular vote comes out. If it passes, it would do serious damage to American democracy.

Local news:
▪  In today's Seattle Times -- 149 face layoffs at booming Boeing -- The senior IT workers get 60-day layoff notices; Boeing is outsourcing their work to an El Segundo, Calif., firm. The people facing layoff are systems analysts and mostly long-serving and nonunion professional staff.
▪  In today's Yakima H-R -- Hourly pay rises for foreign-born workers -- Despite remaining among the lowest-earning populations, Hispanics netted more money after moving from agriculture work to better-paying construction jobs, says a new Pew Hispanic Center report.
▪  At The Olympian's Adam Wilson blog -- State worker dies after injury at L&I -- Bill Harmon, 87, an office assistant died after suffering an injury in a stairwell at the agency's Tumwater HQ.
▪  In the Daily News -- Longview Fibre agrees to pay $201,900 to settle worker's 2004 death  
▪  In today's Seattle Times --  Audit: State open to health-care risks -- The process for licensing health professionals opens the door for unqualified providers and leaves citizens at risk, it says.
▪  In today's Yakima H-R -- Prosser firefighters want their jobs back -- Volunteers who resigned want their positions back while a petition to recall two commissioners makes its way through courts.

Children's health care ▪  The Bush administration has imposed new rules to block states like Washington from expanding coverage to more kids. It's yet another example of the White House imposing its neo-conservative ideology upon states and helping its industry sponsors -- in this case, private insurers -- by circumventing Congress and imposing new "rules." The Washington State Legislature's action in 2007 to expand eligibility to 300% of the poverty level is in jeopardy.
▪  In today's Spokesman-Review -- Bush's child health care changes irk state -- Washington officials vow to oppose surprise federal rules aimed at limiting expansion of the popular SCHIP.
▪  AFL-CIO Now -- If stomping on children's health care is OK, why do Bushies do it on weekend?
▪  In today's NY Times -- Many eligible for child health plan have no idea -- Despite a decade of marketing efforts by governments and private foundations, nearly 30 percent of children who are eligible for the health insurance program and are not covered by private plans have yet to enroll.
▪  In today's Seattle P-I -- A callous fight over children's health (editorial) -- The Bush administration has raised valid concerns about the expansion's details. But this fight is largely unnecessary, too much on the side of insurance companies and not at all on the side of working families.
▪  In today's Wash. Post -- A Dickens of a President (Meyerson column) -- The Bush administration must be taking its moral guidance from Limbkins, Bumble and kindred Dickensian grotesques. How else to explain a president whose concern for the financial interests of private health insurance companies so greatly exceeds his concern for the health of his nation's children?

Other national news:
▪  In today's NY Times -- U.S. group accuses Chinese toy factories of labor violations -- A workers’ rights group details what it called brutal conditions and illegal practices in Chinese toy factories, many of which supply the world’s biggest toy makers, including Walt Disney and Hasbro.
▪  In today's LA Times -- My boss is so bad that I won a vacation -- A man with cancer whose boss threw away his disability benefits paperwork and a help-desk employee who was required to remain at his desk during an office fire have won the 2nd annual AFL-CIO My Bad Boss contest.

Last Throes update: 
▪  Today from AP -- 14 U.S. troops die in helicopter crash in Iraq --
Iraq's prime minister lashes out: "No one has the right to place timetables on the Iraq government. It was elected by its people."
Of the 3,721 U.S. troops killed in Iraq; 3,582 of them have died since Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" and an end to major combat operations in May 2003; 3,260 have died since the capture of Saddam; and 2,862 have died since the government was handed over to the Iraqis.
▪  The WSLC's affiliated unions have called for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.


Teamsters vote to end 7-week strike against Celite in Quincy

The following press release was distributed Tuesday by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 760:

After a seven-week strike against Celite Corporation of Quincy, the members of Teamsters Local Union No. 760 have voted to accept a contract offer that returned them to work on Monday.

"This strike was never about money," said John Parks, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 760. "It was about preserving good jobs in the Columbia Basin. Had this company succeeded in its efforts, many men with 30 years or more service to this company could have been out of work just short of retirement."

Parks added: "No one wins in a strike and this is no exception. These valiant men are to be commended for their resolve in taking a stand against corporate greed."

Teamsters Local 760 represents more than 5,000 members throughout Central Washington.

2007 workers' compensation conference Oct. 3-4 in Wenatchee

"Meeting of the Minds," the 2007 Workers' Compensation Conference will be Wednesday and Thursday, October 3-4 at The Coast Wenatchee Conference Center Hotel, 201 N. Wenatchee Ave. Presented by the Washington State Labor Council, Association of Washington Business and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, this conference is a broad-based forum for union representatives, rank-and-file workers, employers and all others affected by the system to learn more about workers’ compensation.

Space is limited, so download the registration form (and agenda), and sign up today. Registration is $65 until Sept. 15 and $80 thereafter. For hotel accommodations, call the hotel at 509-662-1234 and ask for the conference $98 group rate. A block of rooms is being held only until Sept. 3, so make your reservations TODAY. 

For more information on the conference, call the Project Help office at 1-800-255-9752.

Here's an overview of some of the topics that will be covered at the conference:

Workers’ Compensation Basic Class -- This interactive workshop focuses on understanding the workers’ compensation system from initial claim filing to computing time-loss benefits, Independent Medical Exams, vocational rehabilitation, Permanent Partial Disability awards, reopening claims, and fatality benefits. Come learn the elements of workers’ compensation and what rights and responsibilities are provided under law. Questions are welcome.

What is happening in the New Biennium: Judy Schurke, Director will present her vision for the Department in the next biennium.

Legislative Update: Vickie Kennedy presents the department’s legislative update/summary for the 2007-2008 session.

Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals: New Board Decisions: Frank Fennerty, Labor Member, BIIA; Tom Egan, Chairperson, BIIA; and Calhoun Dickinson, Business Member, BIIA will present New Board Decisions. This session always promotes good dialogue and questions.

Claim and Account Center for Self-Insurance: Jeannie Parr, Department of Labor and Industries, will give an overview of the process.

Vocational Rehabilitation Pilot Program: Come hear this exciting news about the program, and what it offers injured workers. The subcommittee for the legislation will present the elements of this innovative new approach to vocational rehabilitation.

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 © 2007   Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO