Labor's Love Lost: State Labor Council Trashes Democrats

By Josh Feit July 14, 2009

The Washington State Labor Council, which got hit with some major losses in the state legislature last session (most notably on the workers' privacy legislation and unemployment insurance reform ), released a scathing report of the Democratic majority today.

"I don’t think anyone was prepared for how hostile the Democratic leaders would be toward labor’s policy agenda," WSLC leader Rick Bender says in the report. "Clearly, they were more concerned about what corporate lobbying groups call our ‘unfriendly business climate’ than they were about improving Washington’s labor climate for working families," he continues.

The WSLC also released its legislative scorecard , grading legislators vote by vote on labor bills. From the Seattle area, Reps. Sharon Nelson (D-34, W. Seattle, Vashon) and Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard, Queen Anne) and freshman Scott White (D-46, N. Seattle) got the highest marks from labor, voting WSLC's way 88 percent of the time.

No one else topped 75 percent, and a couple of legislators—Sens. Margarita Prentice (D-11, S. Seattle) and Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill)—got D grades or less, 43 percent and 63 percent respectively.

Freshman Seattle Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Ballard)—who gained notoriety last session for bucking labor and (myth has it) high-fiving Boeing's lobbyist in the wings after a critical and dramatic unemployment insurance bill went down—got the worst mark among Seattle's Reps, voting labor's way just 50 percent of the time. Rep. Carlyle says the tall tale (from labor Democrats he says) that he high fived a Boeing lobbyist is "absolutely untrue."

As the reported yesterday , the WSLC said they would be reevaluating their traditional financial support of Democrats.

It's worth noting that Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) and Sen. Fred Jarrett (D-41, Mercer Island)—both running for King County Executive—scored  29 percent and 38 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, the politically powerful SEIU, which represents over 20,000 nurses and health care workers, janitors, and security workers in King County, said today that they will be making a sole endorsement in the K.C. Executive's race on Wednesday.
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