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Listener Sarah Johnson posted this picture from Green Lake Elementary with the message, 'We love our teachers.'
Courtesy of Sarah Johnson

David Hyde speaks with Richelle Dickerson, co-president of West Woodland Parent-Teacher Association, about why she and other parents have been supporting the Seattle teachers strike.

Emily McCann took this Whittier Elementary on the first day of the strike.
Courtesy of Emily McCann

David Hyde talks to Phil Dine, labor expert and author of "State of the Unions," about how Seattle's teacher strike compares to labor trends nationally.

Seattle teachers and supporters walked the picket line in front of Orca K-8 school in Columbia City.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Seattle teachers' strike is entering day three, and so far the tone has been pretty laid back, with teachers even singing. But when are things going to heat up?

They already are in Pasco, where the teachers' strike is leading to a contempt-of-court hearing Friday.

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 teachers at a union meeting on August 26, 2013 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Facebook Photo/Seattle Education Association

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.

Boeing said Thursday it has no further plans to negotiate with its Machinists after the union voted against a  contract extension Boeing said was key to its decision to build the 777X in the Puget Sound region. Now the company said it is looking at other locations. It said it would continue to consider the Puget Sound region, but as part of a competition with other places.

Inside Everett's Boeing factory.
Flickr Photo/Jetstar Airways (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University, about how the Boeing machinist vote will affect the future of labor negotiations in Washington and across the country.

Flickr Photo/Pylon757

Ross Reynolds and Marcie Sillman tackle the complex issues around the machinists' rejection of the Boeing contract offer. First, they speak with Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, about the implications for labor here in Washington state. Then, Wall Street Journal's aerospace reporter Jon Ostrower explains just what resources are necessary to build a brand new airplane like the 777X in another state.

The machinists' two-to-one rejection of the Boeing contract was not the outcome Washington Governor Jay Inslee had hoped for.

KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

In a vote that could ultimately move Boeing out of Washington state, Boeing's machinists rejected the company's proposed contract, with 67 percent of union members opposed.

How Boeing Avoids The Negotiation Table

Nov 13, 2013
Flickr Photo/contemplative imaging

Ross Reynolds talks with aerospace and defense editor at Reuters, Alwyn Scott, about how Boeing's labor dispute compares to other union negotiations.

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Standing before a crowd of Boeing machinists on Thursday night, Tom Wroblewski, president of the Boeing machinists union, tore up a copy of the proposed contract and said he would try to stop it from coming to a vote.

“I know this is a piece of crap,” Wroblewski said, according to The Seattle Times.

The machinists before him were openly hostile to the eight-year deal, which would replace their health care costs and strip down their pensions.

From the Stand With Our Checkers Facebook page.

With just two hours left on the strike countdown clock, a tentative agreement was reached on Monday night between grocery workers and four major chains: Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC and Albertson’s.

Grocery Unions Prep For Strike As Talks Heat Up

Oct 16, 2013
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

As they debate their contracts, grocery workers insist they’re serious about striking: Picket captains have been tapped at hundreds of stores throughout the region, and strike headquarters have popped up in five counties.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage for some workers in SeaTac to $15 an hour could mark a major change in the larger labor movement’s strategy in the US.

Marcie Sillman talks it over with New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse. We also hear from David Rolf, the president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, and Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council.

SEIU: Fastest Growing Union Holds Strong In Washington

Apr 30, 2013

Nationwide, the percentage of workers who are in unions has dropped to around 11 percent according to January report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That’s lowest rate in nearly a century. But the Service Employees International Union has been bucking the trend in recent decades – it’s the fastest growing union in the United States.

Since 1996, 1.2 million workers have joined SEIU nationally. Today, SEIU national represents 2.1 million.   Here in Washington state the SEUI has six locals with more than 100,000 members, up from about 40,000 in 2001. 

The union represents nurses, child care workers, public school employees and janitors.   Plus, Local 775 is the biggest, with around 43,000 members who are long-term care workers, home health aides, and nursing home aides.  

Ross Reynolds talks with David Rolfpresident of the Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union for health-care workers. 

A group that includes Washington’s largest teachers’ union has formally asked state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s new charter school law.

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