August 20, 2010 Volume 111 Number 16

Washington State Labor Council issues new set of endorsements

Democratic congressional candidate Denny Heck was endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council at its Constitutional Convention in Tacoma Aug. 11.

Heck, who is running to succeed Brian Baird in the Third District, did not get the endorsement at the labor federation’s Committee on Political Education convention in May. Instead, the endorsement went to State Sen. Craig Pridemore in a contentious roll-call vote. Pridemore dropped out of the race two weeks later, forcing the WSLC to revisit the race.

Other candidates gaining labor support in the second round of endorsements were incumbent state representatives Jim Jacks in Vancouver’s District 49, Tim Probst in Vancouver’s District 17, and House Speaker Frank Chopp in Seattle’s District 43.

The three Democratic lawmakers were not endorsed at the COPE convention primarily because of their votes on a state budget bill that were contrary to the position of public employee unions.

Chopp also has been at odds with labor, first for helping kill WSLC’s top priority bill in 2009 — the Worker Privacy Act, which barred mandatory employee attendance at employer-called anti-union meetings, and then for his role with Democratic leadership to call state police about an internal WSLC e-mail that threatened to cut campaign contributions to Democrats for killing the bill. Chopp, Senator Majority Leader Lisa Brown, and Gov. Chris Gregoire said the e-mail crossed a line by linking campaign contributions to action on a particular bill. None of them contacted the labor council for an explanation of the e-mail before referring the matter to the Washington State Patrol, which quickly cleared WSLC of any wrongdoing.

In other political action, Jill Johanson was endorsed for Court of Appeals, while Jim Johnson received a “no endorsement” for State Supreme Court. A “no endorsement” means the WSLC will campaign against Johnson.

Endorsements can only be gained with a two-thirds vote of the delegate body. There were more than 420 delegates in attendance at the weeklong convention.

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