Morning Fizz: Whole Foods Brouhaha
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring future donations, existing endorsements, and currently impossible.
1. The King County Labor Council is staying out of the contentious mayoral primary. A candidate would need two-thirds to win the KCLC endorsement and word is the group simply couldn't reach consensus.
The recent controversy over the Whole Foods development in West Seattle has thrown the spotlight on labor, with the United Food and Commercial Workers 21, which opposes the project because Whole Foods is non-union, endorsing McGinn after he came out against the project last week.
UFCW spokesman Tom Geiger tells Fizz the union has worked well with McGinn ever since endorsing McGinn in the 2009 mayoral general elections, and that McGinn's stand against Whole Foods was just "one of many factors." Geiger noted that McGinn signed the City Council's paid sick leave law and had worked with the union to fend off overtures from Wal-Mart to set up shop in Seattle.
Asked about rumors that UFCW was about to contribute to McGinn's independent expenditure campaign, currently bankrolled by the national hotel and restaurant employees union, UNITE HERE, Geiger said a donation—chatter is it could be as much as $50,000—was currently under discussion, but he had nothing to report yet. He says the union has maxed out at $700 to McGinn's campaign proper, though that contribution has not been filed yet.
Fizz has heard the Boeing machinist union is also set to endorse McGinn this week.
Here's a roundup of labor endorsements (sole endorsements bolded; you'll notice Steinbrueck scooped up the maritime unions, a reflection of his work advocating against the SoDo arena proposal, which the maritime unions oppose.)
American Federation of Teachers Local 1789 Executive Board, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46, Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, Laborers Local 1239, Teamsters Local 117, United Food and Commercial Workers 21, UNITE HERE Local 8
Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, Laborers Local 440 (Street Pavers), IBEW Local 77, American Federation of Teachers – Local 1789
Building and Construction Trades Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 609, Plumbers and Pipefitters UA Local 32, Sheet Metal Workers Local 66, and Teamsters Local 117
ILWU Local 19, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, ILWU Local 52, Statewide Clerical Workers, Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific Sailors’ Union of the Pacific (Marine Fireman, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers)
2. And re: this Whole Foods brouhaha, City Council member Tom Rasmussen, chair of the transportation committee (which oversees street vacations), sent an email to the rest of the council this week informing them that they likely wouldn't take up the matter until December.
The Transportation Committee only has four meetings scheduled until the end of the year. One meeting is scheduled in August and two in September. Then the Council takes up the budget work. After the budget work is completed around Thanksgiving the Transportation Committee will meet on December 10. The agendas for the next three meetings are full.
It appears that it could be months before the Council takes up the vacation petition.
3. By the way, it's Fizz's official legal opinion (well, actually, the opinion of a city hall staffer who's worked on these issues) that McGinn, who wants livable wages to be the public benefit necessary for Whole Foods to get city signoff on its request for an alley vacation, and Steinbrueck, who told PubliCola that it was probably illegal for McGinn to meddle in the alley vacation, are both wrong.
McGinn and Steinbrueck are both wrong. McGinn is wrong because livable wages have not yet been established as a possible public benefit in the context of granting street or alley vacations, so there's no basis for turning Whole Foods down with that metric.
Steinbrueck is wrong because ultimately, the council could do a study, determine a nexus between higher wages, and add it to the list. (Ultimately, alley vacations are council decisions.)
Fizz called the city attorneys office, but they could not comment.