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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

May 12, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Boeing fallout: Larsen snubbed as unions endorse Democrats

The Washington State Labor Council met over the weekend to hand out its endorsements for the fall elections.

The list was mostly predictable, as the unions endorsed Democrats in districts across the state. (An exception was the endorsement of Republican State Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) in the 31st Legislative District.)

But U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, was noticeably absent from the endorsement roster. The labor council backed a Democrat in every other congressional race, but declined to endorse anyone in the 2nd Congressional District, where Larsen is seeking reelection.

The union snub stems from Larsen’s stumping for a controversial Boeing Machinists contract ratified earlier this year. The new deal replaced the union’s traditional defined-benefits pension with a 401(k)-style retirement plan. Larsen and other state politicians, including Gov. Jay Inslee, angered union leaders by urging Machinists to vote on the contract despite opposition from local Machinist leaders.

The Washington Machinists Council rescinded its endorsement of Larsen earlier this year.

Kathy Cummings, spokeswoman for the WSLC, said in an email that Larsen had sought an endorsement and was interviewed. But the Snohomish County Labor Council (SCLC) declined to endorse him, “as a result, nothing was voted off the floor of the SCLC in the way of recommendation to the WSLC,” Cummings said.

The move is largely symbolic as Larsen is considered a safe bet for reelection this fall.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, Congressional races | Topics: Boeing, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, unions


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