May 26, 2010

"The miracle at the Machinists Hall" still reverberating as Democrats realize Federation serious about endorsing few

Eleven days later, and everyone is still talking about the tough stand Federation delegates took at the May 15 COPE Endorsements Conference when for the most part the tough stand taken at the Federation’s earlier internal endorsements conference prevailed. 

It’s being called “The Miracle at the Machinists Hall” because the conference took place at the IAM Machinists Hall in south Seattle, the site of so many key labor and political events in this state. 

The Federation teamed up with allies from UFCW Local 21 and Machinists Lodge 751 to deny most incumbents the two-thirds vote they needed to win the backing of the “House of Labor” in Washington state. 

The Federation “Green Machine” held the line and sent the same message: After the $1 billion sacrifices we’ve made for this state’s economy, we’re tired of being kicked around, vilified and undefended by legislators who ought to know better. 

Here’s what The Olympian and Tacoma News Tribune reported at the time: 
State employees are particularly set against spreading money out among Democrats. Two rounds of budget cuts, including layoffs and furloughs, have left them unhappy with many legislators.  
“They went after state employees, against our lunch-box issues,” said Craig Gibelyou, a Western State Hospital nurse. So he and other members of the Washington Federation of State Employees objected to endorsing legislators who “threw us under the bus,” he said. 

Read more here at The Olympian.

But the fight for accountability of our elected leaders isn’t over. 

Candidates can get the Washington State Labor Council’s endorsement at its state convention Aug. 9-12 in Tacoma. So it’s important that Federation locals send delegates so we can continue to hold the line and extend this miracle of solidarity.

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