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February 11, 2011

Feb. 10: GOP infighting imperils TAA program

Feb. 9: U.I. is saving families, businesses

Feb. 8: What will we do to help families?

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, February 11, 2011 

Tentative deal ends boycott at Red Lion

Thanks to the strength of the employees and the support of our community and labor allies, on Wednesday UNITE HERE Local 8 reached a tentative agreement with the Red Lion Seattle Airport Hotel. Given this exciting turn of events, the union's worker committee has decided to call off its boycott of their hotel pending ratification of a new contract. Stay tuned for details of the agreement and the result of the vote. For updates, see: Thank you for all of your support!


Volunteer for AFGE events to support SeaTac TSOs

With the decision this month to officially grant Transportation Security Officers collective bargaining rights, an election will be held online and via telephone from March 9-April 19, with tens of thousands of TSOs across the country voting on whether they want representation, and whether they want it with the American Federation of Government Employees or a different union. AFGE is planning leafleting actions Monday through Wednesday at SeaTac Airport and is looking for volunteers to assist. All union members are urged to support TSOs and show their solidarity by helping. Read more.


Protests help, strikes force change:

►  The latest from AP -- Mubarak resigns, hands power to military -- Egypt's Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. "The people ousted the president," chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.

►  Yesterday at Democracy Now! -- Striking Egyptian workers fuel the uprising after 10 years of labor organizing -- The pro-democracy uprising is surging after striking workers joined in the protests nationwide. Thousands of Egyptian workers walked off the job Wednesday demanding better wages and benefits. Strikes were reported in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and the Suez Canal. “This is huge," says Stanford University Professor Joel Beinin, the former director of Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo. "In the last few days what you've seen is tens of thousands of workers linking their economic demands to the political demand that the Mubarak regime step aside."

►  At AFL-CIO Now -- Egypt's workers strike for democracy, rights -- The international trade union movement has sent a strong message of support to tens of thousands of striking Egyptian workers as they continue to fight for democracy, social justice and trade union rights. The workers are infuriated over reports that President Hosni Mubarak has amassed a fortune worth billions while some 40% of Egytpt's 80 million people live below or near the internationally defined poverty line of $2 a day.


Coming events:

Rite Aid Valentine's actions Monday

Show your love for workers' rights on Monday, Feb. 14 for a National Valentine's Action to support Rite Aid workers. Gather at noon on Monday at the stores in downtown Seattle at 2603 Third Ave. and in Bellingham at 1400 Cornwall Ave.

Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest retail drug chain, has been struggling financially for years. Yet, despite management’s serious and costly mistakes -- which have left the company deeply in debt -- Rite Aid bosses have rewarded themselves with handsome compensation packages. Now top management is trying to balance their books by overcharging workers for health insurance. Read more in the Seattle and Bellingham rally fliers.


Labor Center's official opening TONIGHT 
All are invited to attend the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center's official opening at the South Seattle Community College from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight (Feb. 11) in the B Building of the Georgetown Campus, 6737 Corson Ave. S. in Seattle. This will be a celebration of the Labor Center's new home and an opportunity to meet its staff, check out its resources, learn about programs, and share some food and drink. Brief remarks will be offered by Sarah Laslett, Director of the Center; Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council; and Gary Oertli, President of the South Seattle Community College. There will also be a live musical performance by the Seattle Labor Chorus. For details, email Sarah Laslett


State Legislative news:

WSLC President Jeff Johnson on the dangers of continuing to cut public service staffing.

►  In today's Olympian -- Film-TV tax break may be increased -- State lawmakers today could take one of their first votes of the year on tax breaks -- not to reduce them, but to extend and expand one. The tax credit in question -- for the film and television industry -- is popular even as a $4.6 billion budget shortfall looms. It enjoys support from business, labor and legislators across the political spectrum. (The Washington Filmworks credit is strongly supported by AFTRA-Seattle and delegates to the WSLC's 2010 convention endorsed a resolution in support of it.)

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Foreclosure filings fall -- but not here -- The volume of foreclosure filings fell 17% in January compared with the same month a year earlier. In contrast to the national numbers, foreclosure filings still are climbing in Washington, where the housing bubble burst later. In King County, January filings were up 12% from December and 55% from January 2010. The year-over-year increase was 41% in Snohomish County and 37% in Pierce County.

(The WSLC is supporting SB 5275 and HB 1362 to promote alternatives to foreclosure. Learn more.)

►  In today's Olympian -- Participants in TransAlta dispute need to clear the air (editorial) -- All the players involved in this dispute share a concern about the degradation of the environment. Each proposes a different solution to get to the same goal -- cleaner air quality. They must use that common ground as the base of a reasonable compromise that will settle this contentious issue.

►  In today's Yakima H-R -- Wrong kind of discussion on immigration (editorial) -- Phrases like "terror and climate of fear" or "destroy us and our way of life" won't foster a sober discussion of how to fix a broken immigration system. In the end, reform must balance the nation's security needs with the reality that millions of workers already here illegally are participating and contributing to the nation's economy. Divisive comments like those above will keep us divided from workable solutions.

►  In today's Spokesman-Review -- Senate candidates will interview under oath -- Candidates in the contentious process to fill a vacant Spokane Valley Senate seat will be asked to take an oath when they're interviewed today by county commissioners. (That's right. Politicians swearing not to lie.)


'Memba him?

►  In the Seattle Times -- Former BIAW chief Tom McCabe to speak at CPAC on "threat" of government unions -- Former Building Industry Association of Washington chief Tom McCabe will participate in a Saturday panel called "Bleeding America Dry: The Threat of Public Sector Unions."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tom McCabe should speak in a panel called "Bleeding L&I Dry." He got paid $1.25 million and a year's worth of health-care coverage last December to leave the BIAW. Years of infighting with local affiliates had boiled over into a complete split of the builders' lobbying group. How could they afford that golden parachute? Under McCabe's reign, the BIAW siphoned millions of dollars from the state workers' compensation system via the Department of Labor and Industries' Retrospective Rating Program, and spent much of it unsuccessfully trying to get Dino Rossi elected. It was organized labor that fought to get McCabe & Co. off L&I's teat, which explains his personal animosity toward unions.


Boeing news:

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Boeing, EADS submit final bids for Air Force tanker -- The two contenders for the Air Force aerial-refueling tanker contract, Boeing and Airbus parent EADS, submitted their final bids Thursday. Boeing has proposed a military version of its 767 airliner, to be built on its Everett assembly line alongside commercial jets. EADS is offering an Airbus A330 tanker, to be assembled at a new wide-body jet facility in Mobile, Ala., along with commercial A330 freighter jets. Since both contending airplanes meet all the mandatory-performance requirements, the terms of the competition mandate that the lowest price should be decisive. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney on Thursday said Boeing's final bid price is "aggressive but responsible."

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- All new design likely to replace 737 -- Boeing's chief executive had the aviation world in a frenzy Thursday after strongly suggesting the company will come out with an all-new jet to replace its Renton-built 737. "We're going to do a new airplane,” said Jim McNerney. Boeing executives have previously hinted they’re leaning toward replacing the 737 rather than putting new engines on it, as competitor Airbus has said it will do with the A320.


National news:

►  At AFL-CIO Now -- McDermott: "Republicans have always hated Medicare" -- Thursday's House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Medicare was billed as an examination of how the health care reform law will impact the 45-year-old program that provides health care coverage for nearly 40 million seniors. But Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) cut right through the smoke screen laid down by its GOP chairman, saying, "While today's hearing is supposed to be about the new health care law's impact on Medicare, it is really about taking the first step towards... transforming the Medicare system into a voucher program. It would kill Medicare as we know it and force seniors to go out and shop around for health insurance with a voucher. Do Republicans really think that insurance companies are going to be jumping up and down to provide senior citizens with health insurance?"

►  In today's Washington Post -- How the Affordable Care Act empowers states (Kathleen Sebelius op-ed) -- It puts states in the driver's seat because they often understand their health needs better than anyone else. That's why it is so frustrating to hear opponents of reform falsely attack the law as "nationalized health care." The truth is that states aren't just participating in its implementation; they're leading it.

►  At AFL-CIO Now -- Stopping currency manipulation would create U.S. jobs -- Leveling the playing field by enforcing our trade laws against currency manipulation is a no-cost action that will create jobs. The AFL-CIO is urging passage of the bipartisan Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act of 2011.

►  At AFL-CIO Now -- NFL lockout is not just about football, it's about 150,000 jobs -- Each community with an NFL team stands to lose as much as $160 million if the team owners force a lockout next season. If the owners get away with the lockout, it could cost 150,000 jobs nationwide and have a ripple effect on how other workers across the country are treated.

►  Also see the WSLC's Nov. 1, 2010, posting -- NFL lockout would be devastating for Seattle




Volunteer for AFGE events to support
SeaTac TSOs

With the federal government's decision this month to grant Transportation Security Officers collective bargaining rights, an election will be held online and via telephone from March 9-April 19, with tens of thousands of TSOs across the country voting on whether they want representation, and whether they want it with the American Federation of Government Employees or a different union.

"This is great news for the TSOs across the country," said AFGE National President John Gage. "For years, AFGE has tried to work with the Transportation Security Administration to change policies and procedures that are outdated and unjust, only to be told that the agency can't take action because it has to 'remain neutral' because of the presence of other unions. With this election, that matter will be put to bed and the TSOs can get the workplace procedures they deserve."

AFGE is planning a series of actions at SeaTac Airport next week and is looking for volunteers to assist with leafleting. If you can help at any of the following actions, or want more information, please email Don Fowler or 253-230-1718.

  • Monday, Feb. 14 -- leafleting noon to 2 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 15 -- leafleting 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 16 -- leafleting 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 16 -- AFGE National Secretary Treasurer David Cox will be at a "Union Fair Environment" event, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AFGE also requests that anyone visiting SeaTac Airport on Feb. 14-16 wear their union jackets, hats, t-shirts, etc. as a show of solidarity.

"TSOs have been waiting for too long and they need a union that will be innovative in its approach to securing the rights to which they are entitled," Gage added. "More than 20,000 TSOs in more than 100 airports nationwide already have expressed interest in having AFGE as their union, and we look forward to welcoming the rest of the bargaining unit workforce into our union. AFGE can truthfully and proudly say that we have been the only union at airports around the country for nine years fighting for the respect and dignity due TSOs. As the only union with strong backing from the powerful AFL-CIO and its 12 million members, we have the utmost confidence that TSOs will join the tens of thousands of other DHS employees already represented by AFGE and vote overwhelmingly for AFGE."

Learn more: "Family of Labor" backs SeaTac Airport TSOs 


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