August 15, 2008 Volume 109 Number 16

Anti-union ads target Congressional candidates
You may have seen the TV ads. Several national anti-union groups are targeting Congressional candidates who support the Employee Free Choice Act, U.S. labor's top legislative priority.

[Left, a Grim Reaper associated with a well-funded anti-union group shadows U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley at a Milwaukie Farmers Market campaign appearance.]

State of the unions
For the Northwest Labor Press, Labor Day is an annual opening to take a step back and ask how workers — and the labor movement — are doing.

Rule change in workers’ comp medical fees could harm injured workers
Union officials and some health care groups believe that a temporary emergency rule issued last month by the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division creates “sweeping changes” to the system that could drive out some medical providers.
Oregon unions oppose slew of ballot measures
Oregon voters will see 12 measures on their mail-in ballots this fall: eight citizen initiatives and four legislative referrals. The four referrals are likely to get labor support, but all but one of the initiatives are opposed by organized labor.
Washington AFL-CIO convention focuses on politics
Judging by last week’s convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the ballot box has eclipsed the bargaining table as the focus of union attention.

Boeing Machinists take strike vote, contract expires Sept. 3
Negotiations are reaching a critical stage at Boeing Co., where last month members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers authorized a strike. The union represents more than 24,000 workers in the Puget Sound area in Washington, and in Gresham, Oregon, and Wichita, Kansas. The existing contract expires Sept. 3. The Machinists struck for 28 days before ratifying that contract.

New contract at Cascade General; new officers at Metal Trades Council
Shipyard workers ratified a new three-year contract that provides for wage increases of $1 an hour in each of the next three years; full maintenance of benefits for health insurance; and pension hikes of 10 cents an hour the first two years and 5 cents more in the third year.