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September 1, 2010

Aug. 31: Dino Rossi fights for the rich

Aug. 27: Support Coke workers on strike

Aug. 26: Coke cancels strikers' health care

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Celebrate Labor Day with labor on Monday

Regional central labor councils have Labor Day picnics and events planned for Monday, Sept. 6 in Seattle, Tacoma and Tumwater. Plus, mark your calendars for the Spokane Labor Rally on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Make plans to attend these events, bring your families for some food and fun, and meet labor-endorsed candidates for public office.  Get the details.

►  At AFL-CIO Now --  Trumka: Labor Day is a defining time for working people -- The elections this year come down to a choice between leaders who will stand with working people or those whose right-wing agenda will choke off economic recovery and put corporations back in the driverís seat. With that said, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka outlined plans for an aggressive and massive mobilization of working people this Labor Day weekend and for the fall election. During a press conference this morning at the AFL-CIO, Trumka also announced the federation will run TV and radio ads Labor Day weekend in key markets around Major League Baseball games, NASCAR, and college football games. (See the video above).

►  At AFL-CIO Now --  Workers say Obama-Trumka Labor Day visit will energize voters -- President Obama and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be joined by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis at the Milwaukee Area Labor Council's Laborfest, which draws thousands of the area's working families.

►  In The Hill -- Business groups plan Labor Day Blitz against Democrats -- Local chapters of groups like the NFIB, Associated Builders and Contractors and other business groups will hold events Monday targeting Democratic candidates, particularly on their stance on the EFCA.

►  In today's Washington Post -- No holiday for labor unions (column) -- Labor Day this year comes draped in mourning. More than half of all workers have experienced a spell of unemployment, taken a cut in pay or hours, been forced to go part- time or seen other such problems during and after the Great Recession... Unions give voice to workers, and not just their members. Their "small d" democratic strength is a vital counter to the special-interest big money that has so distorted our politics. And their revival is central to building a new foundation for this economy, one that will ensure that it works once more for working people.


More election news:

Democratic leader Hoyer urges labor activism

House Democratic Majority leader Steny Hoyer came to the Seattle Labor Temple on Tuesday to make the case for union leaders and members to get fired up about electing Democrats who will keep the country moving forward, instead of reverting to old trickle-down policies that we know won't fix this economy. On hand were two labor-endorsed candidates for Congress, Suzan DelBene in the 8th CD and Denny Heck in the 3rd CD. Watch this video featuring comments from all three of them.

►  In today's Washington Post -- A deserted feeling in working-class America (Harold Meyerson column) -- Of all the groups in the Democratic orbit, it is labor that has assumed the most demanding role in this year's midterm elections: keeping the white working class from flooding into the Republican column. Working America's canvassers hear that anger every day -- sometimes directed at Wall Street, sometimes at the president, immigrants and other right-wing bogeymen. They grapple with it by highlighting job-creation programs (improving local roads) and anti-offshoring legislation that Democrats have backed and Republicans opposed. Their message is surely the right one. The question is whether congressional Democrats and Obama in particular actually measure up to progressive-populist claims that labor makes for them.


Initiative 1098 news:

►  At -- Find out how much I-1098 will save YOU -- Initiative 1098 would raise taxes on households earning over $400,000 a year, but it also will cut taxes for homeowners and small business owners. By how much? Check out the new I-1098 calculator created by the Economic Opportunity Institute to see how much youíll save.

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- Income tax initiative's math adds up (John Burbank column) -- There is a long-term solution to our state's budget mess. It is pretty straightforward. The most prosperous among us should simply help out more, by paying their fair share of taxes for public services. If the people approve I-1098, then not only will the vast majority of citizens and all businesses benefit from a tax reduction, but we will get about $1.6 billion in new revenues directed into the education legacy trust fund and health care.


Local news:

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Trying to rebuild the construction industry -- As the Puget Sound region's depressed housing market enters its third year, the construction industry has lost more jobs -- 80,704 since August 2007 -- than any other part of the state's economy. Building permits have dropped by more than half in King and Snohomish counties and the county planning staffs have also been slashed. Revenues from permitting and impact fees have plummeted, deepening the deficits in many local governments' budgets.

►  In today's (Longview) Daily News -- Fibre contract negotiations resume Thursday -- Union paper makers and Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging Inc. negotiators will meet for another round of contract talks Thursday morning, according to AWPPW Local 153. The two sides met Monday for a Q&A session. (In the Daily News photo at right, Longview Fibre employee Robin Martin stands beside a freshly painted picket sign Sunday during a strike prep work party at the AWPPW Hall. Click it to enlarge.)

►  In today's News tribune -- Small business owners discuss lending problems with Sen. Murray -- Small business owners are in a credit desert. ďIím just in a holding pattern until I can get (money to make the improvements) myself... ďIn one month, with no notice, we went from a $35,000 (line of credit) to $1,000... I supported myself, three kids and seven employees. Now I canít get $50 from a bank.Ē Those were some of the comments from seven small-business owners Tuesday during a meeting with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who is pushing House-approved legislation currently being blocked by Senate Republicans that would create a $30 billion fund to encourage community banks to lend to small businesses.

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- Boeing won't buy supplier -- CFO James Bell says the company won't buy Italy's Alenia Aeronautica, which has been the source of workmanship issues.


Health care news:

►  From the CSM -- Florida voters canít strip down Obama health-care bill, court rules -- The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative that sought to amend the stateís constitution to establish that Florida residents have a right to refuse to purchase mandatory health insurance -- including under President Obamaís reform effort.

►  In today's LA Times -- About 2,000 employers qualify for federal subsidies for retiree health care -- The Obama administration says that nearly 2,000 businesses, labor unions and state and local governments have qualified for federal subsidies to offset the cost of providing their retirees and dependents with medical insurance, another early benefit of the new health care law.

►  At Huffington Post -- Oregon Democrat seeks waiver from health care law, individual mandate -- One of the most innovative voices in the debate, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is accelerating the process of exempting his state from some of the reforms passed under President Obama. He is seeking to take advantage of a provision he helped write into the legislation that allows states to set up their own health care systems as long as they meet minimal federal requirements.


National news:

►  In today's NY Times -- New job means lower wages for many -- With the country focused on job growth and with unemployment continuing to hover above 9%, comparatively little attention has been paid to the quality of the jobs being created and what opportunities might be available to workers when the recession finally settles. There are already reasons for concern.


Celebrate Labor Day 
with labor on Monday

Regional central labor councils have Labor Day picnics and events planned for Monday, September 6.  Make plans to attend, bring your families for some food and fun, and meet labor-endorsed candidates for public office.  Here are the events scheduled: 

SEATTLE -- The M.L. King County Labor Council will host its annual Labor Day Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at Lower Woodland Park (Shelters 1, 2 & 3), N. 50th St. & Woodland Park Ave. North. Hot dogs, ice cream, live music, games, clowns, face painting -- and it's all free! For more information, call 206-441-8510 or email

TACOMA -- A short memorial ceremony will be held Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the gravesite of longtime labor activist, poet, author and songwriter, Ralph Chaplin, who dedicated his life to the cause of organized labor and is credited with writing the words to "Solidarity Forever." This event, hosted by the Pierce County Central Labor Council, is at Calvary Cemetery, 5212 70th Street West. Then, union Members and their families are invited to the Labor Day Picnic and Festival from noon to 4 p.m. at Wright Park. Free BBQ, live music by David Rovics, Union Tug of War, No Child Left Behind Sack Races, kids games and Bounce House, and much more. For more information on either event, call the Pierce County CLC at 253-473-3810.

TUMWATER -- The Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council will host its annual Labor Day Picnic on Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tumwater Historic Park, 777 Simmons St. SW (next to Henderson house). Download a flier with map. Bring the family for free food, refreshments and children's entertainment. For more information, call 360-520-9575.

And mark your calendars for the Spokane Labor Rally

The Spokane Regional Labor Council will host its traditional election-year Labor Rally on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds, 404 N. Havana St.  As always, in addition to giving union members and their families an opportunity to meet labor-endorsed candidates, there will be food, drinks, door prizes, music, family entertainment, lots of fun, and surprise guests. Donations of $1 will be accepted for food and beverages. Get Labor Rally tickets at your local union office. For more information, call 509-327-7637.


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