unions

Group Challenges Public Employee Unions With Lawsuit

Aug 14, 2015

An Olympia-based libertarian group called the Freedom Foundation is laying down stakes in Oregon by filing a lawsuit against the state’s largest public employee union.

Flickr Photo/Bari Bookout

Now that there’s an agreement in the West Coast ports dispute, ship containers are being processed at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

But the congestion on port lands won’t clear until truckers get in to move the containers. And that is the question now: How soon can the region’s truckers move them, and what will stand in their way.

The global shipping industry is a ferociously competitive business, and the trans-Pacific route — from Asia to the West Coast seaports of the U.S. — is considered one of the most lucrative routes. Normally, cargo ships carrying everything from fruits and vegetables to cars and electronics can count on getting into a berth at one of the 29 West Coast seaports in a reasonable time.

The Los Angeles City Council is currently considering whether to raise the minimum wage to $15.25 an hour by 2019. It would follow Seattle and San Francisco, two cities that approved $15 minimum wages in the past year.

Port of Seattle, port, stadium, Century Link
Flickr Photo/ArtBrom (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with KUOW reporter Carolyn Adolph to get the latest upates on the labor dispute that shut down Seattle ports over the weekend.

Also, Ross Reynolds interviews John Ahlquist, co-author of the book, "In the Interest of Others: Organizations and Social Activism,” which looks at the history of the longshoremen and the union's involvement in politics. Ahlquist is a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In the post-WWII period, 40 percent of Americans were private sector union members. That number is now below 7 percent.

The reasons behind this drastic decline are hotly disputed. Union supporters say greedy corporations, helped by politicians, have worked systematically to bust the movement. Detractors say leadership corruption, improved labor laws and global competition served to make unions less relevant over time.  

Ross Reynolds moderates a debate on the role of public sector unions in a Seattle Town Hall debate January 13. Guests include Daniel DiSalvo, a critic and the author of, "Government Against Itself," and University of Washington political science professor Michael McCann, a supporter of public unions.

The production line at a Boeing facility.
Courtesy/Boeing Company

South Carolina has won the exclusive right to build the 787-10, the longest version yet of the Dreamliner. The decision means South Carolina will make as many Dreamliners as Washington state does by the end of the decade.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Patti Oliver Bailey sat on a sunny wooden deck in Seattle’s Rainier Valley on a recent afternoon, surrounded by toddlers digging through a box of pink sand and bright toys.

Marcie Sillman talks to Marcia Coyle the chief Washington correspondent for the National Law Journal about the Supreme Court's decision on a few recent important cases.

Then, Jim Mischel, co-founder and co-owner of Everett based Electric Mirror, responds to the Supreme Court's 5-4 vote on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. His company filed an amicus brief with Hobby Lobby. We also hear from Christine Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.

And Jackson Holtz, spokesperson for SEIU Local 775, gives his view about the Harris v. Quinn decision on union dues.

One of the last two Supreme Court decisions of this term was billed as a potential "final destruction" or "kill shot" for public sector unions. They seem to have been merely nicked by a bullet.

Seattle Education Association's Facebook page.

Ross Reynolds talks to Jonathan Knapp, president of the Seattle Education Association, about No Child Left Behind and his narrow victory over challenger Jesse Hagopian for union president.

Photo IAM District 751

The drama over the Boeing 777X jet has claimed its first casualty.

Tom Wroblewski, president of the Machinists Union District Lodge 751, announced on Tuesday night that he is retiring to a small group of elected representatives from local lodges. His last day is Jan. 31.

Boeing handout

There’s a proposal on the table.

The Machinists Union says it has presented Boeing with a contract that could secure the 777X production line for the Puget Sound region.

KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Marcie Sillman talks with Everett mayor Ray Stephanson about his efforts to bring Boeing and the machinist union back to the negotiation table.

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