All is not well in the organized labor kingdom that Jay Inslee wants to rule over as the Democrat governor of Washington. There are evidently multiple union locals which were quite willing to deeply embarrass Inslee , according to a front-page Seattle Times today. The head of the consortium of the state’s unions uninvited Inslee from his role as a keynote speaker at the Washington State Labor Council’s annual convention which starts Thursday.
Some conjecture that the decision – after much publicity about Inslee being a featured speaker – was due to the Machinists union’s “lingering resentment over big Boeing tax breaks.” The Seattle Times reports,
“Jeffrey Johnson, president of the Labor Council, said he disinvited Inslee after discussions among Labor Council members…
“… Johnson said, tensions persist over Inslee’s role in securing Boeing’s record-setting $8.7 billion tax break and his pressure on the Machinists union to vote on a contract that ended workers’ defined-benefit pension plan.
“‘Feelings are pretty raw with a lot of our members, a lot of our unions,’ Johnson said. The resentment goes beyond just Boeing-affiliated unions, he added.”
The Labor Council’s snub is especially embarrassing considering the fact that Inslee has risked quite a lot to support unions—particularly those that pumped millions into his gubernatorial campaign in 2012—during the last legislative cycle. Certainly, Inslee fought tooth and nail for the state employee and teacher pay raises he negotiated with union leaders in secret.
The Seattle Times goes on to point out that unions “donated more than $5.2 million that year to Inslee’s campaign, the state Democratic Party and a political-action committee backing Inslee.” The relationship between Inslee and unions appeared to be all rainbows and butterflies… until our green governor crossed the Machinists. Unfortunately for Inslee, Machinists bear long grudges and they are not over the fact that he urged them to vote on a new Boeing contract that ended their traditional pensions in 2014.
Interestingly enough, while Inslee got the boot, other high profile Democrats (and one socialist) are set to make speeches. The Seattle Times,
“Notwithstanding Inslee’s absence, the Labor Council convention, which runs Thursday to Saturday, will include talks by other prominent Democrats, including Attorney General Bob Ferguson and King County Executive Dow Constantine. Seattle’s socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant also is slated to speak.”
In other words, due to Sawant’s presence, attendees can still expect to be entertained by a bizarre speech… Inslee just won’t be the one delivering it this time around.