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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Unions

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September 4, 2012 at 6:46 AM

Some unions vexed by Democratic Party’s choices for party in Charlotte

Unions are generally strong supporters of the Democratic Party. But not all unions or their members are on the same page with the party over its choice to hold its nominating convention in Charlotte, or how the party is going about it.

CHARLOTTE — Unions and Democrats go together like bread and butter, right?  The Democratic Party and unions have had a reciprocal relationship for years: Unions provide the party with both financial and political support, while the party supports them in national legislation.

Chris Cecil from Teamsters Local 391 in Greensboro on Labor Day, 2012 (Photo by Amber Cortes/UW Election Eye)

But the choice of holding the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina — a right-to-work state that does not allow employees to collectively bargain — has ruffled some feathers among unions in North Carolina and around the country. Unions like the AFL-CIO have curtailed their involvement this year, and the United Mine Workers, a strong supporter of Barack Obama in 2008, are still deciding whether to officially endorse him this time around.

Chris Cecil, a shop steward with Teamsters Local 391 in Greensboro, NC, is dissatisfied with the convention location and Obama in general.

“Just look at where he’s giving his acceptance speech,” he said  as he hands out leaflets to passersby: “Bank of America Stadium.”


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Charlotte, Democratic Party

May 28, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Washington unions provide support, solidarity in Wisconsin

Wisconsin seems like a world away to many in Washington, and not just in terms of mileage. But the ties between union members in the states are strong as they seek to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

An early voting rally was held outside the SEIU Local 150 offices on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee, using the iconic imagery of a statue of Dr. King himself as the epicenter. Despite a large union showing and anti-Walker undertones, the event organizers maintained that it was focused on a nonpartisan early voting effort.

MILWAUKEE — Washington and Wisconsin have a few things clearly in common. Washington has the UW, and Wisconsin has the other UW. They also share an affinity for a good local microbrew. And when I was cutting it close to making it for an interview, I was delayed by a lifting drawbridge — it almost felt like home.

And that’s the way union leaders in the two states want it: tight and connected. Especially now.

On June 5 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) faces Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett (D) in a rare recall election sparked by Walker’s move to cut collective bargaining for public union employees.

Washington unions have joined the battle.


Comments | More in National | Topics: AFL-CIO, Recall Scott Walker, SEIU

May 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

For some, Wisconsin’s recall election hits home — starting with the front yard

UW Election Eye is on the road for three weeks, covering politics in the heartland of America. One of our points of focus is Wisconsin’s historic gubernatorial recall election, set for June 5. For some, this election is particularly personal. One union organizer in Elkhorn, Wis., isn’t shy about putting forward her views — on the…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Scott Walker, Tom Barrett, Unions

April 3, 2012 at 7:28 AM

With Jay Inslee moving on, newly redrawn First Congressional District boasts fierce competition

The newly redistricted 1st CD stretches from the Canadian border to Medina.

The newly redistricted 1st Congressional District stretches from the Canadian border to Medina. (Courtesy of redistricting.wa)

Update, April 12: Roger Goodman has withdrawn from 1st CD race, making the Democratic competition slightly less crowded. He will instead run for re-election to his old seat in the 46th LD.

Only three months in and 2012 is shaping up to be a year of political intensity, and not just for the presidential candidates. Washington state’s recently finalized redistricting of congressional districts has set the stage for a fierce competition, but it’s not where one might expect.

Thanks to the 2010 US Census results, the Evergreen State gained a coveted prize — another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. This representative will herald from the state’s newly established 10th Congressional District, smack in the middle of Pierce County and centered around Olympia. One would think this new political arena would be the talk of the town and swarming with legislative hopefuls. But as of now the 10th is home to only three announced candidates, Democrat Denny Heck and Republicans Stan Flemming and Dick Muri.

Meanwhile, it is the no-longer-recognizable 1st Congressional District that’s heating up with competition. The Redistricting Committee has redrawn the 1st’s geographical and political lines. What used to be a compact “water district” of mostly King and Kitsap counties is now a sprawling beast, stretching from Medina to the Canadian border and incorporating everything from the UW-Bothell campus to rural farmland in Lynden. Of the District’s 672,000-plus population, over half are transplants from different jurisdictions.

The adjusted territory has dramatically altered the district’s political leanings. The former 1st was solidly Democratic, but the new boundaries include Republican strongholds, like conservative Whatcom County. That, coupled with former Democratic 1st CD Rep. Jay Inslee’s resignation from Congress to run for Governor makes this CD a new ballgame.

And people are lining up to run: six Democrats, an Independent and a Republican. With eight people vying for one spot, it’s essential to know the players.


Comments | More in State | Topics: conservatives, Darcy Burner, Darshan Rauniyar

February 21, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Lobbying in Olympia on Presidents Day: Sing-in with the Occupy movement and disco with the Revenue Coalition

Participants of Occupy Presidents Day raise their hands for a "sparkle ovation" on the Capitol steps, Monday, Feb. 20. Olympia saw a number of demonstrations to coincide with the holiday. (Photo by Ilona Idlis/UW Election Eye)

OLYMPIA–For many people, Presidents Day is marked by department store bargains and a chance to sleep in.  But for activist groups across the state of Washington, it was an obvious day to lobby–especially in an election season. Instead of snuggling under the covers, groups of students, teachers, union workers, and the occasional choir convened at the capitol early Monday morning in the cold drizzle.

Inside the legislative buildings was a hive of activity. The Senate and House offices buzzed with 15-minute visitations and the hallways were filled with youth in power suits prepping for their next meeting. Thanks to the crowds, the O’Brien Building elevator temporarily malfunctioned due to overcapacity.

Outside, two different rallies prepared for show time.

Occupy Presidents Day was staging their entrance a few blocks from the legislative campus at Sylvester Park. About fifty people encircled the park’s gazebo and listened to the day’s instructions. Scattered around the crowd were home-made anti-war signs, “99%” banners, a woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and a large sculpture of planet earth (which would be carried to the state house later).

Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm, a 22-year-old organizer for Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, announced the logistics of the planned Sing-In and Die-In. The Occupiers would arrive inside the legislative building’s rotunda by 1:30 P.M., collapse “dead” on the ground, and then sing in protest of war to the tune of the national anthem. She had the crowd practice the song while a volunteer held up lyrics, handwritten on the back of protest signs.


Comments | Topics: Occupy movement, Olympia, Presidents Day