Morning Fizz

Podlodowski May Challenge Ravens for State Democratic Party Chair

A new state party chair? And new Uber unionizing rules?

By Josh Feit November 28, 2016

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1. Last week, I reported that state representative Noel Frame (D-36, Ballard) posted an online letter that she and a long list of Democratic PCOs signed calling on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (WSDCC) “to withhold their support and endorsement in the race for Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party until they’ve given all other candidates an opportunity to make their case.”

The letter read as a clear rebuke of current state party chair Jaxon Ravens; the Democrats failed to take back the state senate this month, only winning one of the three races they targeted.

The Seattle Times had a report  on the letter this weekend, starring Frame, and writing that the pending intraparty standoff for state chair is similar to progressive U.S. representative Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) antiestablishment run for DNC chair—local evidence that the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party (Ellison endorsed Sanders over Clinton and Frame was an outspoken Sanders supporter) is itching for a fight over the soul of the Party.

Ravens told the Times he's running for reelection. Frame wouldn’t tell the Times if she’s running. She told me this: “The factors for me in that decision is whether or not a candidate I believe has the skills to do the job—and the path to victory to win—steps up to run. I definitely meet that criteria, and I'm waiting to see if someone else does too. Why not jump in now? Because it's not about me and my ego—it's about what is best for the party moving forward. So, we'll see. There are plenty of amazing people that could run for the job, but not all have the full skill set, and viability is a real consideration given the particulars of the electorate.”  

Word is another person who signed the online petition—failed Democratic secretary of state candidate Tina Podlodowski—might jump in. (Podlodowski was the only Democratic candidate to lose a statewide race.)

Podlodowski was actually an early Hillary Clinton supporter.  

Podlodowski tells Fizz: “I'm seriously considering it.”

It sure sounds like it. She added:

“It's clear we need a 39 county/49 legislative district strategy for Washington State, as well as full time organizing, better data, and a revamp of communications for both our party volunteers and the general voter. I've spent the last year traveling all 39 counties, and have a rather large ‘to do’ list based on conversations across the state. It's clears that Dems need to be able to clearly communicate our values and priorities, fight for our values and priorities and be seen fighting for our values and priorities to inspire and educate. Leadership needs to really be willing to listen, respect, and reconcile disparate points of view. [The] next chair needs to build a lasting 'bench' and organization that is welcoming, nimble, and open.”

As for the Clinton/Sanders divide, Podlodowski says while she was an early Clinton supporter, she’d “describe [herself] as an Elizabeth Warren Dem, though—progressive, and wanting to get things done. I was honored in my race to be supported by both the Hillary and Bernie folks in our party. Now there is time for a bit of truth and reconciliation and a rebuilding of a progressive democratic party.”

Asked about a possible Podlodowski candidacy for Party chair, Frame played it with a nod and a wink. She said: “I'd recommend you hold on that part of the story for about a day and perhaps I'll have more to share.”

Frame and Podlodowski share the same political consultant—Lisa MacLean at Moxie Media who focuses on promoting female candidates.  

2. Late last week, the city’s department of Finance and Administrative Services released the much-anticipated collective bargaining rules that will govern council member Mike O’Brien’s successful 2015 8-0 legislation giving Uber and other for-hire drivers the right unionize.  The dramatic legislation challenges federal rules which don’t give contract employees the right to unionize. Oh, Seattle.

Uber has been pushing a “one-driver, one-vote” position over a more limited set up that would only allow full-time or mostly full-time drivers to vote; the corporate thinking there is that a clash between part-time and full-time drivers' agendas would divide and conquer any union effort.

The FAS rules define a qualifying driver as a driver who as provided at least 52 trips over three months during the year preceding a potential union vote; that’d be .6 trips a day, though the standard, FAS made clear, is measured over the 90-day period, not over a single day.  

While that sure sounds like it would make plenty of non-full timers eligible to vote, Uber still denounced the rule. Uber tells Fizz the rules would still exclude “thousands of drivers from participating in a vote.”

In an official statement, Uber spokesman Nathan Hambley said:

“People who drive with Uber come from all walks of life and use the platform to meet different needs and financial obligations, no matter how much they drive: to cover the rent, pay an unexpected bill, support their families or make ends meet between jobs. It’s reliable, flexible work that provides a way to make the money they need, when they need it, whatever the circumstances.”

I have a message in to O’Brien for his take on the proposed rules.


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