Labor Neighbor Radio
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Tomorrow Fast food restaurants like
McDonalds, Wendys and others in 150 U.S. cities can expect to be surrounded by workers demanding union representation and
This is a campaign by the Service Employees International Union SEIU which has been pouring millions
of dollars into the effort.
Teamsters in Tukwila have voted 241 to 2 to authorize a strike against the Fred
Meyer grocery distribution center. That doesn't mean one will happen, but it should tell the management that workers
are serious about health care issues and subcontracting out their work.
Disheartening statistics discovered
by the League of Women voters looking into Washington State suicide rates. We're higher than the national average and,
in Kitsap county more than 80 percent of gun deaths are people taking their own lives. The coroner says
(sot) "By an overwhelming majority, it's middle-aged men who are killing themselves, mostly by gunshot wounds,"
Sandstrom says. "So, even though it's really important to reach the youth, we need to get the word out that it's not
just young people; it's people in their 30s, 40s, 50s."
The League is working on a Suicide Prevention
Program that could be funded by the Legislature.
Alaska Air flight attendants have been negotiating
for three years on a new contract and say they are frustrated. They are calling in a federal mediator.
the U.S. Senate is looking into the extra fees airlines charge for seat selection, changing flights, baggage and more.....and
whether airlines are selling your name to other merchants....all while they airlines are making record profits.
In the public schools the class of 2014 passed their graduation requirements at a 90 percent rate. Younger grades
had ups and downs in reading and math.
State School Superintendent Randy Dorn said the
state lost its federal waiver of some of the requirements for funding, causing some big resource problems.
made things impossible
Reading and math are tested every year in grades 3 through 8. Writing is tested in grades
4 and 7 and science is tested in grades 5 and 8.
as the legalization of marijuana in Washington resulted
in more car crashes. Too soon to tell say the experts. What they do know is pot reduces reaction times,
peripheral vision and multitasking.
Happy new office to the Washington State Labor council, which got
out of the dinky...call that shabby digs on first avenue to the better IBEW building in Seattle's International District.
Can't wait for the open house.
Labor Neighbor Radio is supported by the Martin Luther
King Labor Council
I'm John Sandifer
Labor Neighbor Radio
Wednesday, Auugust 20, 2014
I was at my neice's baby shower this
week. It was a co-ed thing. She's due in about a month. Didn't have the heart to tell her about the latest
Agriculture Department report on Expenditures on Children and families. It's gonna cost the average middle-income
family $245,000 to raise a child to the age of 18. That's for food, housing, childcare and education...and doesn't
A major court win for Fred Meyer workers who don't really work for Fred Meyer. The Washington
State Supreme Court decided that Fred Meyer could be liable for minimum wages and overtime payments to janitors who actually
work for a subcontractor, cleaning 40 stores.
Fred Meyer used to hire unionized janitors. But ten years
ago it started to outsource its janitorial work to a national company based in Tennessee, which in turn contracted with small
local companies to clean the Fred Meyer stores. They didn't always pay correctly.
The National Labor Relations Board, this week, found that McDonald's Corporation can't blame its franchisees for low wages
and working conditions....that it shares legal responsibility because it maintains such extensive control over operations
at the outlying restaurants.
State Employee pensioners are upset with another ruling by the state Supreme
Court. This one says the state doesn't have to provide cost of living adjustments to retired workers....even if
active personnel get them. One retiree, Jean Kelly, says its going to play havoc with her budget.
(sot) "We all looked at it as a way of keeping up with inflation," she says. "We
felt pretty secure that we had that flexibility, but we lost all of that flexibility, entirely. So, really, it's kind of a
desperate feeling now, because we had the hope before."
State pensions average about $2,000 a
The good news is, the state economy has broken out of the doldrum days and our unemployment rate
is down to 5.6 percent....the lowest in six years.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions
appears to be cracking down on unlicensed payday loan companies, warning people about uses and abuses.
The latest were Spotloan...a North Dakota tribal outfit....and Mypaydayloan.com...address uknown.
The AFL-CIO warns
that the Voting Rights Act of 1965....signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson....is being eaten away. 22 states
have passed laws in the meantime restricting the right to vote....generally on the basis of race or language.
The Department of Transportation is going to count bicycles this fall....see how many are out there....where they go....try
to figure out how best to handle them.
They're calling for 400 volunteers to help with the survey. Get
in touch with the department of Transportation...or the Cascade Bicycle Club.
Neighbor Radio is supported by the Sheet Metal Workers Local #66
Labor Neighbor Radio
Wednesday, Auugust 13, 2014
Maybe now we can put aside two years
of a contentious dispute at Northwest grain terminals. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation service says Longshore
unions have worked out a tentative deal.
Just in time.....harvest season is on us and those terminals
in Portland and Vancouver export a lot of grain....in fact, More than a quarter of all U.S. grain exports move through nine
grain terminals on the Columbia River and Puget Sound.
Metal workers in Tukwila have formed a new union
at Jorgenson Forge Corporation....against strong opposition by the company. These are workers who make complicated components
for aircraft, drilling rigs and ships....things like propeller shafts and landing struts ....made from stainless steel, titanium
and the like. When the NLRB certifies their representation by the International Association of Machinists, they'll
demand bargaining with Jorgenson.
State Agriculture inspectors found a gypsy moth in Port Townsend,
setting off an investigation if there are more of them. One gypsy moth caterpillar can eat 11 square feet of vegetation
during its lifetime...so you don't want them in your garden or orchard.
How do they get here?
Mike Louisell, from the AG department says they migrate....like gypsies.
(sot) "Usually they come
in in a birdhouse or a barbecue set, or maybe it's some furniture," he said, "The problem, of course, is these gypsy
moth eggs are not exactly huge - and that's exactly why we have inspection programs."
upping its utility rates almost five percent per year for the next six years. Water, sewer, garbage and storm water
services will cost the typical family about 300 dollars a year now and a little over 400 at the end. It's close
to a 100% increase since 2004. City Council says it sounds like a bigger increase than it is.
scam in the state. Phony law enforcers are calling people saying they didn't show up for jury duty and now owe
a fine. They are willing to take credit card information over the phone. This has been reported mostly
in eastern Washington.
Media watchdog group...Public Knowledge is opposing any merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Staff attorney John Bergmayer says....
Sot: you need a certain number of competitors to
ensure that a market actually is competitive."
Comcast wants to acquire Time Warner...already
the two biggest cable TV companies.
(sot) "Comcast plus Time Warner will be so big that they can
essentially make or break any independent programming," he said. "So, you're creating a single gatekeeper that really
determines what's going to be the successful video content nationwide."
How do you stop such a
merger. Public pressure says Bergmayer.
The moon hit the sky like a big pizza pie this week.
Did you see the super moon? Scientists call it a perigee moon...when the moon is near the horizon and looks bigger
and brighter.. Pretty impressive.
Labor Neighbor Radio is supported by the Longshormen of Local
I'm John Sandifer