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March 13, 2009

Mar. 12: WSLC stands behind WPA efforts

Mar. 11: Lobby Day for Healthy WA

Mar. 10: Gregoire, Chopp urged WPA

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Friday, March 13, 2009 


Post-cutoff status report 
Thursday, March 12 was the last day for bills to get floor votes in their houses of origin. As reports continue to trickle in from its affiliated unions, the Washington State Labor Council has compiled a status report on some of the bills of concern to organized labor that were affected by Thursday's cutoff.  Read more.


Watch. This. 

  Everyone who has watched their retirement security either take a major hit or completely evaporate in the past year -- and that's just about everybody who's reading this -- should take a break at some point today and watch Daily Show host Jon Stewart eviscerate CNBC clown Jim Cramer last night for his network's complicity in the financial raping of America's working families. CLICK HERE to watch the full unedited 23-minute interview. Then ask yourself why -- in a country that prides itself on free press -- it takes a friggin' COMEDIAN to call out the commercial corporate media for either standing idly by or actively cheering the unchecked criminal corporate behavior that has crashed the entire global economy. 

  In today's NY times -- Household wealth falls by trillions -- The Federal Reserve reports that households lost $5.1 trillion, or 9%, of their wealth in the last three months of 2008, the most ever in a single quarter in the 57-year history of recordkeeping by the central bank. 


Legislative news:

  Today from AP -- New state tax plan in works -- Interest groups pushing for a tax referendum of as much as $2 billion are planning a second round of polling to help narrow down options for state lawmakers, people involved in the effort said this week.

  Today from AP -- Workers' comp refund bill gets OK'd -- One of the Democratic majority's biggest political foes would have to reveal how it finances campaigns with workers' comp refunds under a bill passed by the Senate, 25-24, after contentious debate.

  At -- Worker Privacy Act DBA: Dead before arrival -- The Democratic leadership in Olympia pulled both the House and Senate versions of the bill from further consideration. The action was taken after an email from a Washington State Labor Council staffer -- intended for internal distribution -- discussing potential labor actions related to the bill. (See yesterday's posting -- Bender: WSLC stands behind its efforts on Worker Privacy Act.

  At -- Note to Dems: Not another dime from Goldy -- There is nothing unethical or illegal about threatening to withhold future contributions from a Democratic leadership that seems intent on screwing its most loyal supporters... We all know what happened here: the Democratic leadership hated (the Worker Privacy Act) and were just itching for an excuse to kill it... they took this relatively innocuous line in an email that wasn’t even directed to legislators, and used that as grounds for publicly attacking unions, and instigating a police investigation?  Why?


Local news:

  In the (Aberdeen) Daily World -- Imperium to cut 24 jobs at local plant -- Imperium Grays Harbor says the layoffs of "more than half" of its remaining employees at its Hoquiam plant are in response to a global drop in demand for biodiesel and "volatile" petroleum markets. 


Employee Free Choice Act news:

  In today's -- It's about democracy and rights, not secret elections (op-ed by USW VP Jon Geenan) -- The American business community is pulling together to ensure that workers' democratic rights in the workplace are preserved. In fact, they are spending millions and millions of dollars on behalf of the workers whose rights they seek to protect. What? The absurdity of this is obvious. These are the same people who have fought every initiative to increase minimum wage. These are the people who provided unwavering support of NAFTA and other offshoring efforts that have decimated our manufacturing base. These are the people who worked tirelessly to defeat new health and safety regulations and environmental efforts related to cleaner water and air and safer chemicals, not to mention their vehement opposition to health care reform. 

The American business community claims there is a travesty associated with the Employee Free Choice Act, and they are right. But the travesty has nothing to do with secret ballots. Like the master illusionist creating an act of prestidigitation, corporate America is undermining democracy, while at the same time pretending to be its biggest defender in the workplace.

  In today's Detroit News -- Strengthening unions will rebuild the economy (op-ed by Teamsters President James P. Hoffa) -- Under the status quo, the corporations get to decide whether there will be a government-supervised election for a union. Under Employee Free Choice, the workers would choose how their votes are counted. The workers could either have a secret-ballot election or majority sign-up, which is also known as card check.

  From Reuters -- Wal-Mart confident of defeat of Employee Free Choice Act -- "We're confident that Congress will get it right, they'll figure this thing out, and this bill will be defeated."  


Copyright © 2009 --  Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO