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June 30, 2010

June 29: AFL-CIO blasts US-South Korea FTA 

June 28: Support Mott's strikers

June 25: I-1100 is a costly threat to public safety

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WSLC 2010 Convention is Aug. 9-12 in Tacoma

AFL-CIO's Liz Shuler on agenda for final convention with WSLC's Bender, Link

The 2010 Constitutional Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will be Aug. 9-12 at the Hotel Murano and Convention Center in Tacoma, the final convention for WSLC President Rick Bender and Secretary-Treasurer Al Link. Both officers, who have served in those positions since 1993 and 1994, respectively, are not seeking re-election in this fall's WSLC elections. Among the distinguished labor and elected leaders scheduled to address convention delegates are AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Read more.


Jobs, jobs, jobs:

►  In The Hill -- AFL-CIO's Trumka to press deficit panel to continue stimulus spending -- The labor leader will tell the bipartisan panel that more spending to create jobs is needed. "Without a significant reduction in the trade deficit, only economic stimulus in the form of deficit spending can make up for the remaining shortfall of aggregate demand until private sector demand regains its footing," Trumka will say, according to excerpts of prepared remarks. "But instead, we are heading in the opposite direction. We are prematurely withdrawing economic stimulus, allowing the Recovery Act to phase out and standing by passively as state and local governments plan to lay off 900,000 workers." 

►  In today's Wash. Post -- Recession cut into employment of half of working adults, study says -- The recession has directly hit more than half of the nation's working adults, pushing them into unemployment, pay cuts, reduced hours at work or part-time jobs, the Pew Research Center finds. The economic shock has jolted many Americans into a new, more austere reality, which is likely to have lasting consequences for an economy fueled mostly by consumer spending.

►  In today's NY Times -- Governments moving to cut spending, in echo of 1930s -- The world’s rich countries are now conducting a dangerous experiment. They are repeating an economic policy out of the 1930s -- starting to cut spending and raise taxes before a recovery is assured -- and hoping today’s situation is different enough to assure a different outcome.

►  In today's LA Times -- With stimulus funds running out, economic worries grow -- Much of the $787 billion stimulus has been spent, creating jobs and extending jobless benefits. But with lawmakers reluctant to approve more, concerns are rising about staving off another recession.

►  At -- Jobless aid back on Senate agenda -- Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled yet another effort to extend unemployment benefits as part of a pared package that includes an extension of the deadline for homeowners to claim a tax credit. 

►  In today's NY Times -- Who will fight for the unemployed? (editorial) -- Without doubt, the two biggest threats to the economy are unemployment and the dire financial condition of the states, yet lawmakers have failed to deal intelligently with either one. The situation cries out for policies to support economic growth -- specifically jobless benefits and fiscal aid to states. But instead of delivering, Congressional Republicans and many Democrats have been asserting that the nation must act instead to cut the deficit. The debate has little to do with economic reality and everything to do with political posturing. What’s needed, and what’s lacking, is leadership, both in Congress and from the White House, to set the terms of the debate -- jobs before deficit reduction -- and to fight for those terms, with failure not an option.


Banks, banks, banks:

►  In today's NY Times -- Bank fee is eliminated in financial overhaul bill -- Senate Republicans who had supported an earlier version of the sweeping financial regulatory bill threatened to block final approval unless Democrats removed a proposed tax on big banks and hedge funds. So  conference negotiators eliminated the proposed tax and adopted a new plan. 

(YOU get to pay for it. That's right, it'll come out of previously approved TARP funds. So, while Congress prescribes austerity and layoffs for the states, it managed to find $20 billion laying around so banks can avoid paying any of the cost of cleaning up the mess THEY created.)

►  In today's NY Times -- In U.S. bailout of AIG, forgiveness for big banks -- When the government began rescuing it from collapse in the fall of 2008 with what has become a $182 billion lifeline, A.I.G. was required to forfeit its right to sue several banks -- including Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch -- for misrepresenting mortgage securities that it insured in the pre-crisis years.


Local news:

►  In today's Olympian -- Two agencies tell workers to stay home on Tuesday -- The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the state Department of Retirement Systems are getting a jump on state worker furloughs, shutting down their offices on Tuesday. The furloughs -- or temporary layoffs -- are one controversial budgeting tool that state lawmakers used this year to shave an estimated $35 million from state general-fund payroll costs and $38 million from other funds. The Washington Federation of State Employees has sued to block the furloughs, and a court hearing is scheduled Friday in Olympia to consider whether an injunction is warranted. But in the meantime, agencies are moving ahead.

►  In today's News Tribune -- Inmates return from out-of-state prisons -- The last group of inmates housed in out-of-state prisons has returned to Washington. At its peak, Washington housed more than 1,200 prisoners in privately operated prisons in several states.

►  In today's Yakima H-R -- Grant will maintain services for ag workers -- The Opportunities Industrial Center of Washington will receive about $3 million through the National Farmworker Jobs Program for training and employment services for migrant and seasonal workers.

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- EvCC gets nearly $5 million -- Everett Community College gets federal funding to train students in high-demand fields like health care and green technology.

►  In today's Bellingham Herald -- Federal watchdog question's NOAA's move to Newport, Ore. -- The Office of Inspector General questions the cost-effectiveness of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's decision to move its Pacific Marine Operations Center.

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Higher education double-dipping should be retired (editorial) -- The state is in extreme financial straits and it is paying 2,000 retirement pensions and salaries at the same time. It should be one or the other. A salary or a pension. Not both at once.


WSLC affiliates:
Download election materials

Download camera-ready fliers comparing candidates in various races and explaining ballot measures. Affiliated unions can also request customized versions of these fliers with their names and logos. Get more information. 

Election news:

►  From AP -- Initiatives face Friday deadline -- It's a busy week for initiative campaigns, which face a Friday deadline for turning in petitions. Five campaigns have appointments to drop off petitions with the Secretary of State.

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Key GOP senators host Rossi fundraiser -- Dino Rossi, who declared a run for Patty Murray's Senate seat with the pledge to take back Washington and "unleash the power of the people," on Tuesday mingled with some of the folks who constitute the D.C. establishment: politicians and lobbyists. The event near the U.S. Capitol was held at Polaris Consulting, a lobbying firm that promises clients "unparalleled access, expertise and experience."


Boeing news:

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- Tail flaw grounds 787 test fleet -- Boeing temporarily grounds its 787 test fleet because of an assembly problem with the horizontal stabilizers supplied by an Italian partner. Alenia Aeronautica shipped some horizontal tail structures with improperly installed shims, which attach the tail to the fuselage.

►  Today from AP -- WTO publishes ruling faulting EU for aid to Airbus -- The World Trade Organization has published a ruling that faults European governments for providing plane maker Airbus with illegal subsidies in a long-running trade dispute between the European Union and the United States. The WTO's verdict was made public Wednesday, three months after it was delivered to U.S. and EU trade officials. Some findings already have been widely reported.

►  From AP -- Boeing to acquire defense company for $775 million -- The company says it has agreed to acquire a Fairfax, Va.-based combat engineering firm, Argon ST, for about $775 million in a deal to expand its capabilities in intelligence gathering and warfare.

►  In the Wall St. Journal -- Dubai's $29B order with Boeing, Airbus in jeopardy -- The future of the order with Boeing and Airbus is uncertain amid Dubai Aerospace Enterprise's financial woes.


National news:

►  From AFP -- Unions challenge Obama on South Korea trade deal -- The AFL-CIO vowed Tuesday to battle a free trade agreement with South Korea, rejecting President Barack Obama's push to finalize the deal this year. "This flawed agreement is the last thing working people need," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Obama, meeting Saturday with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on the sidelines of a summit in Canada, said he ordered his team to finalize the deal by November so he can present it to Congress a few months afterward.

►  In the NW Labor Press -- Heintzman named ATU president -- Ron Heintzman, former president of Portland-based Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, has been appointed international president by the ATU’s General Executive Board following the retirement of Warren S. George, effective July 1. 

►  In today's LA Times -- Obama renews immigration push -- The president meets with lawmakers to discuss a strategy for passing a bill this year; gaining Republican support will be a challenge.

►  In today's Washington Post -- Despite corporate code, BP has made political contributions -- Its own code of conduct says BP will "make no political contributions, whether in cash or in kind, anywhere in the world." But BP North America -- the energy giant's U.S. subsidiary -- has donated at least $4.8 million in corporate contributions over the past seven years to political groups, partisan organizations and campaigns for federal and state elections.


WSLC 2010 Convention is Aug. 9-12 in Tacoma
AFL-CIO's Liz Shuler on agenda for final convention with Bender, Link

The 2010 Constitutional Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 9 at the Hotel Murano and Convention Center in Tacoma. Convention business is expected to be completed by early Thursday afternoon, Aug. 12, in what will be the final convention for WSLC President Rick Bender and Secretary-Treasurer Al Link. The officers, who have served in those positions since 1993 and 1994, respectively, are not seeking re-election in this fall's WSLC elections.

With the theme "Focus on Jobs," the Council will present an agenda of distinguished speakers focused on the need to continue pressing for public policies that protect, maintain and create family-wage jobs. In addition, panels will discuss the status of immigration reform, implementation of national health care reform, initiatives appearing on this fall's ballot, and other important working families issues.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, the first woman elected to serve as the federation's No. 2 officer, will be keynote speaker for Monday's opening session. Shuler is a friend of the labor movement in the Pacific Northwest having served as a legislative representative for IBEW Local 125 in Portland, Oregon, which included lobbying legislators in Olympia alongside representatives of the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliates. She later served as the executive assistant to IBEW International President Ed Hill before joining AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Executive Vice President Arlene Holt-Baker in being elected to the labor federation's top posts last summer. Shuler is deeply committed to the call to renew labor’s appeal to younger people.

More special guest speakers will be announced soon.

You say you want a resolution?

Well, you know... the Washington State Labor Council's Constitution says that proposed resolutions should be submitted 30 days prior to convention, which would be by Friday, July 9. However, "late" resolutions are routinely accepted right up until the first day of convention and also will be considered by delegates. That said, affiliates are urged to submit these resolutions at the earliest possible time to facilitate reproduction and distribution to the convention body.

These resolutions are a key part not just of the WSLC convention, but of the organization itself.  It is through the debate and passage of these resolutions that WSLC positions and policies are established. Any WSLC-affiliated union may submit resolutions.  See the resolutions approved in 2009 for examples of the diverse issues that are covered.  

The resolutions are first referred to various committees that will meet Monday afternoon and consider whether to recommend changes or corrections. Debate and voting on the resolutions, and any committee amendments, will begin Wednesday afternoon and continue Thursday morning, as necessary.

This convention is an opportunity for union officers, staff and rank-and-file delegates to hear from many other distinguished union leaders, attend informative workshops, develop relationships with other unions -- and have some fun. With this fall's critically important elections, many elected leaders and candidates for public office -- including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (Wednesday night's banquet speaker), and U.S. Reps. Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee -- will also address WSLC delegates. In addition, on Wednesday afternoon, convention delegates will consider election endorsements to supplement those approved at the COPE Convention in May.

The official WSLC Convention Call, which indicates the number of delegates to which each WSLC-affiliated union is entitled, has already been mailed. If you are interested in representing your union as a delegate or alternate to the convention, contact your local union. All are urged to make their housing arrangements immediately as the blocks of rooms will be held only until July 17, and will fill up fast.

"The Tournament in ‘10," the annual golf fund raiser to benefit the Foundation for Working Families, will be Sunday, August 8 with a 8 a.m. shotgun start at the Meadow Park Golf Course in Tacoma. All proceeds from this tournament go directly to FWF to benefit union disaster relief efforts and community service agencies. For registration information, contact the FWF at 206-281-8901 x14, or download the tournament flier/registration form.

A tentative convention agenda will be posted at this site as soon as it is available.  For general convention questions, call the WSLC at 206-281-8901. 


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