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Labor Neighbor Radio

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hello again.

Residents near Darrington and Arlington appreciate President Obama's visit to the OSO slide area....especially those who lost loved ones.  Federal disaster aid was pretty fast getting to the area,  but more of it will be needed and the locals are hoping the President got a new impression of the extent of the devastatioin.


Meantime,  people may not be aware that 80 or more lawyers have banded together to help victims of the OSO slide.  They Quickly  realized that once the initial shock of the event wore off, there will be a ton of legal issues surfacing.....mortgages, for instance on houses that no longer exist.

One of the attorneys spearheading this free service, is Joe Nichols in Everett.

(sot)  "You know, there are a lot of people that have lost everything," he says. "And there are going to be a whole host of legal issues they are going to be grappling with, and we want to be able to provide a place they can go and talk to a lawyer and not have to worry about paying for it."

The lawyers are setting up a toll free phone line.  Meantime people who need legal assistance can contact Snohomish County Legal Services.

There's a farm labor shortage in Washington.  It's mostly reported in Eastern Washington.   It hit earlier this year because the weather caused early blooms on apples, peaches and the like.  if no local workers want the jobs, that opens up the opportunity for farmers to use Mexicans and other foreign nationals.  Last year they hired 6,000 of them.


Fishing season opens this week.  It's always the biggest fishing day of the year.  The state has stocked millions of trout in hundreds of lakes.....just waiting for the rod and reelers to haul them in. Fishing licenses are required....but they are cheap for seniors and  kids 15 ....and kids under 14 don't need one.  There is a ton of fishing information available on the state fish and wildlife website

Earlier this week, the state honored Volunteers....with  a ceremony in Olympia.  They figure one in three residents makes time for some kind of volunteer activity each year......that adds up to about 5.6 billion dollars worth of time. 


Shelly Jones, for instance, volunteers for the League of Women Voters.



(sot) "It's just been a great resource for me in building my professional skills, learning new ones and also, giving back to my community and really meeting some amazing folks,"


Volunteers range from fundraising  to teaching, from collecting food to cleaning trails.  The typical Washington volunteer puts in about 47 hours a year.


The state says we had a small improvement in the unemployment rate last month.  The pace of hiring has quickened.  Well,  its spring. Things should continue to get better.


Here's an innovative approach to dealing with CEO's who earn 700 times more than their average worker.   Its proposed legislation in California that would set corporate taxes according to the ratio of CEO to worker pay....that is,  Corporations with low pay ratios get a tax break.  Those with high ratios get a tax increase


49rs fans are sore losers.   Did you see this?   San Francisco 49ers fans are signing a petition to stop their trolley system from using seat covers.....because the covers are Green and blue...Seahawk colors.


This week, 1962.   The opening of the Seattle Worlds Fair....Danny Kaye came,  and Elvis.   And me.  I was there.   It was a big party.  A good time had by all.


Labor Neighbor Radio is funded, in part, by the Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA

I'm John Sandifer

Labor Neighbor Radio


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Hello Again


After a patient died last month at the Providence Health and Services Rehabilitation facility in Lacey,  The union representing staff  said it had repeatedly raised concerns about staffing levels before that happened.   The Service Employees union, SEIU 1199 quoted a doctor who complained that, on average ,there were only two staff employees to look out for 40 patients and they were being run ragged.

Meantime another SEIU Unit figures prominently in tens of thousands of home care workers who will be splitting 57 million dollars in back pay from the state.   This, after a court decision that the Department of Social and Health Services improperly cut the pay of workers who lived with their clients.  Said SEU 775 Executive board member T.J. Janssen:

(sot) "There's a lot of caregivers that had to leave a job," he explains. "It's only fair that they get paid to do that, because that job they were working before was paying their bills."

Janssen says Home Care workers provide services that save the state money in the long run, so cutbacks don't make sense.

(sot) "Start restoring the hours," he says. "We don't expect them to restore all of them at one time - at least I don't - but to get caregivers out of poverty, because all of the cuts during the recession has put a lot of caregivers in poverty."


Under this court ruling workers will get about 3500 dollars each.  


Hope you got your tax return mailed on time.  Associated Press reports your chances of being audited are pretty low this year.    Has to do with budget cuts at the IRS.  You will recall the IRS got in trouble with Congress for singling out conservative groups....and as a result, got its budget cut.

On the subject of the federal budget,  National Parks folks are hoping to get more money this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Parks Service....The President has proposed a 55 million dollar increase, according to the bdget director, John Garder.

Sot) "It's a modest increase over last year. But it doesn't get parks back to where they were just a few years ago, before damaging cuts, to ensure that people can have a really inspiring and a safe experience out in our parks,"

Garder says the government has put off about 12 billion dollars in park maintenance...so there's a lot of fixing to be done.

If Boeing is moving Engineers to California to recruit or develop younger engineers down there.....The Boeing Engineers represented by SPEEA say they will sue for age discrimination.   This is reported in the Puget Sound Business Journal this week.   Course it's usually difficult to prove age discrimination in the absence of a smoking gun.

Every year about this time the State sponsors Construction safety day.  This will happen April 23rd in Puyallup.  I have attended this event and it's a pretty good effort aimed at teaching and spreading the safety message among people who build things.  Falls, for instance are one of the leading causes of injury and death.

Little History note:  The unsinkable Titanic sank during this week in 1912.  Did you know that there were six passengers from Washington State that went down with the ship? 



Labor Neigbor Radio is funded, in part by the Letter Carriers of Branch 79


 I'm John Sandifer

Got labor news?  Contact us:  John@laborneighborradio.com