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January 5, 2011


Jan. 4: GOP vows repeal just as health benefits kick in

Jan. 3: Workers' comp hearings Tuesday

Dec. 17: Urge NFL owners: No lockout

 
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Wednesday
, January 5, 2011

Archives preserving local labor history

No region has a more dramatic and consequential labor history that the Pacific Northwest. The Labor Archives of Washington State was founded in 2010 to preserve and make accessible the records of working people and their unions, documenting the local, national, and international dimensions of the labor movement in this region. The Labor Archives is a collaborative project of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries. Funding for the Archives comes largely from the labor movement. The contributions of dozens of unions and hundreds of individuals make this possible, along with the support of the unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, whose delegates passed a resolution last year to commit to the required funding for the archives. Read more.
   

State government news:

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Gregoire offers plan to stimulate job growth -- Businesses would save more than $300 million in unemployment-insurance taxes this year and receive subsidies to return injured employees to light duty under a set of job-creation bills proposed by Gov. Gregoire. Business and labor leaders cautioned they were awaiting details in writing.

►  In today's Spokesman-Review -- Bills would save state's businesses millions -- One measure that must be approved before Feb. 8 would stop, or in many cases reverse, 2011 UI tax increases set to average 36% by tapping into the UI trust fund that has 14 months of reserves. Gregoire predicted organized labor and business groups will embrace different pieces of her reforms. "I don't know anything you can do to please both sides," she said.

The Herald photo -- click to enlarge►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- The state cuts a lifeline -- For the past six months, 59-year-old Cheri Bellinger has been surviving on $339 a month. The Everett woman said the Disability Lifeline payments she gets from the state is her only source of income. As of this month, that payment was cut to $266. And Gov. Gregoire has proposed cutting the payments entirely in March. The cuts would affect 21,000 disabled people in Washington.

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- Social service budget cuts already made, and those proposed -- A list of the changes and cuts to state social service programs that went into effect Jan. 1.

►  In today's Columbian -- Local vigils to highlight state budget cuts -- Advocates for seniors and disabled groups in SW Washington will hold candlelight vigils Thursday to shine more public light on state budget cuts. Locals will gather from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 2711 NE Andresen Rd.

►  A similar vigil is planned TONIGHT, Jan. 5 at Seattle's Westlake Park at 4 p.m.

►  In the Olympian -- Will voters be asked for transportation taxes? -- While the Legislature will largely be shying away from taxes in the session starting next week, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown is open to asking voters for new revenue for transportation projects.

►  From AP -- Legislators don't want Basic Health eliminated -- Legislative leaders say they'll seek alternatives to Gregoire's proposed elimination of the state-funded health care program.

►  In today's Spokesman-Review -- Illness forces McCaslin to quit State Senate -- He says health problems have resurfaced and changed his plans to serve out his term, which ends in 2012.

 

State government opinion:

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- Minimum wage law buoys pay for all of us (John Burbank column) -- Economists have analyzed the impact of increased minimum wages during the past three recessions, including this one, and found that these better wages boosted workers' incomes with no decrease in employment. This is a good thing for employers as well. Increased wages tend to decrease turnover, decrease recruiting costs, decrease training costs, and increase workers' commitment to their jobs.

►  In today's Seattle Times -- Privately, I'm publicly amazed (Danny Westneat column) -- One of the many things I don't get about politics lately is why we're starting to privatize what's public, yet continuing to pour public resources pell-mell into what ought to be private. In this new era of fiscal frugality and hitting the reset button, I haven't heard a peep about whether (the state's corporate tax) subsidies are worth it or should be continued. Yet a higher-education task force says the primary goal in its plan to keep our public universities afloat is to "find someone other than government to pay the bill." Got it. For the Boeings, the Microsofts, the NASCARs, the rum makers -- we're there for you. But you colleges? You really need to run yourselves more like a business.

►  In today's Seattle Times -- All parties must invest to move higher education forward (editorial) -- The state's four-year public universities should be allowed to set their own tuition rates, but no one should think tuition increases can make up for budget cuts. The state must return its investment to a stronger, more robust stage. (That's right, the newspaper that has championed more corporate tax exemptions -- including for itself -- as higher ed spending was slashed and has opposed every effort to raise more state revenue, calls for more robust spending. Lovely.)

  

Local news:

Boeing Field Service Reps file for election 

The NLRB has set Jan. 14 for a hearing to review a petition filed by Field Service Representatives in Boeing Commercial Airplanes to join SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001. Filed Monday, the petition was supported by union authorization cards signed by a vast majority of Boeing's FSRs working within the United States. The filing, the first in the New Year at the region office, starts the process for the NLRB to hold a representation election for the 100 domestic FSRs to join SPEEA. Read more at SPEEA.org. 

Attend the contract signing ceremony!
Union members: You are invited to join Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and local and state elected officials at the contract signing ceremony for the Bored Tunnel project. It will be Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Port of Seattle Headquarters (Pier 69 on the waterfront).

►  In today's Seattle Times -- DOL set to sign $1.1B tunnel contract -- The state Department of Transportation says it's ready to sign a $1.1 billion contract Thursday for construction of its proposed Highway 99 tunnel. The four-lane passage from Sodo to South Lake Union would be drilled by a 58-foot-wide boring machine. Excavation could start in late summer followed by drilling in 2013, assuming the project wins federal approval for its environmental impact statement.

►  In today's Columbian -- Vancouver, two unions stalled on contracts -- The city has reached an impasse in labor negotiations with the Police Command and Firefighter unions, with both cases set to be heard by a state arbitrator. In their last contract, the firefighters were the first city union to forgo a cost-of-living increase, saving the city $700,000.

►  From AP -- Seattle warehouse worker hit by clothing bale dies -- A woman helping stack heavy clothing bales at a Seattle warehouse died Tuesday after one of the bales fell on her.

►  In today's (Everett) Herald -- CIT orders 37 Boeing 737s -- The leasing company also has purchase rights for another seven aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled through 2017.

►  In today's Yakima H-R -- Firefighters get the need to cut benefits to save jobs (editorial) -- The IAFF union agreed to a cut in the city's contribution to the employees' retirement savings plan. It was not a cut in take-home pay, but it is a significant benefits cut. "This is hard, this is painful for people," said firefighters union president Randy Raschko. Taxpayers are more inclined to be sympathetic to future funding requests if they see that government workers are doing their part in tough times. By giving up something, the firefighters show that they get it.

►  Representing those who DON'T get it, at Crosscut -- How I became an anti-union Democrat (by former Gregoire speechwriter Adam Vogt) --  With more news coming out each day about devastating budget challenges at the federal, state and local level, it's time for public employees and their union benefactors to make some concessions. What many don't yet realize is that these budget troubles were brought on in large part by repeated giveaways to public employees in the form of pension contributions, health care benefits and other rewards. (And this guys claims he is a Democrat. Feel free to comment.)

  

National news:

►  At Huffington Post -- Repealing health care reform will kill 32,000 people a year 
(by Richard Kirsch) --  Why are we beating around the bush? Yes, there are a lot of good benefits in the health care law that would be lost if it were repealed. But there's also a basic truth: health insurance saves lives. A Harvard Medical School study calculates that about 1,000 people will die for every one million people who are uninsured. Since the health care law is expected to cover 32 million currently uninsured people, a vote for repealing reform is a vote to kill 32,000 people a year.

►  Also see yesterday's posting -- GOP vows repeal just as health reform benefits kicking in 

►  At Politico -- States grapple with health care -- As House Republicans revive past debates with the planned repeal vote on health care reform, their state-level counterparts are quietly pushing into health reform's future. All states -- including those led by GOP governors who campaigned against reform -- have implemented at least some of the new law's provisions.

►  At AFL-CIO Now -- Petty Republicans ban word "Labor" from committee name -- With major issues like jobs and the economy straining for attention, House Republican leaders took a big step to solving the nation's problems when they boldly acted -- drum roll, please -- to change the name of the Education and Labor Committee to the Education and Workforce Committee.

►  At Huffington Post -- Regulators want $2.5 billion from execs of failed banks -- U.S. banking regulators have authorized lawsuits against 109 bank officials so far as they seek to recover at least $2.5 billion in losses connected to recent bank failures.

►  In today's Washington Post -- America's downward slide (Harold Meyerson column) -- The decade just concluded is the first in which Americans, on average, have seen their incomes decline. We stand on unfamiliar terrain in which almost all the signs of long-term economic health point downward. Our economic woes, then, are not simply cyclical or structural. They are also - chiefly - institutional, the consequence of U.S. corporate behavior that has plunged us into a downward cycle of underinvestment, underemployment and under-consumption. Our solutions must be similarly institutional, requiring, for starters, the seating of public and worker representatives on corporate boards. Short of that, there will be no real prospects for reversing America's downward mobility.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2011
Archives preserving local labor history

No region has a more dramatic and consequential labor history that the Pacific Northwest. The Labor Archives of Washington State was founded in 2010 to preserve and make accessible the records of working people and their unions, documenting the local, national, and international dimensions of the labor movement in this region.

The Labor Archives is a collaborative project of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries. Funding for the Archives comes largely from the labor movement. The contributions of dozens of unions and hundreds of individuals make this possible, along with the support of the unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, whose delegates passed a resolution last year to commit to the required funding for the archives.

The goal of the archives is to ensure that Washington State's regional labor heritage is preserved and that current and future generations understand the struggles and accomplishments of organized labor and working people. The archives serves as a center for historical research, ensuring that new generations understand the importance and history of the labor movement and working people in the past and their importance to the future of our state and nation.

Visit the website of the Labor Archives of Washington State to learn more about the project, the hours for accessing it, exhibits and events, donations and collections, and other ways you can support the project.

 

Copyright 2010 --  Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO