Labor contracts

Ashley Gross / KPLU

King County Metro Transit bus drivers are stepping up their pressure on officials to give them more bathroom breaks. On Monday, some workers picketed outside King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office to draw attention to what they say are unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

Birdy206 / Flickr

The operators of West Coast port terminals say the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is engaged in a work slowdown at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. The two sides have been negotiating for about six months to reach a new contract.

The union that represents about 33,000 independent home care workers in Washington says it has reached a tentative contract with the state that would boost their average hourly pay to more than $14 by the beginning of 2017. 

Ashley Gross

Alaska Airlines executives and flight attendants are back at the bargaining table this week with a federal mediator, but the workers say they’re frustrated by the slow pace of contract negotiations which have dragged on for almost three years. 

Union leaders and the company did reach a tentative deal late last year, but members rejected it.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The brinkmanship at play between Boeing and its 30,000 machinists over an eight-year contract proposal is a dramatic new chapter in the broader labor movement, says Leon Grunberg, a professor of sociology at the University of Puget Sound.

Nick Ut / Associated Press

All you have to do is turn on your TV lately to see evidence of the grocery wars. 

One recent Walmart ad states: "With Fred Meyer fuel points, you could save $1.30 at the pump. At Walmart, you could have saved a total of $17.92." 

"Wow, that's awesome!" the woman shopper in the commercial exclaims. 

Bob B. Brown

About 30,000 grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region will be voting next week on whether to authorize a strike. That’s after the bargaining team decided to recommend a strike vote, saying they made no progress in bargaining earlier this week.

Roadsidepictures

Seattle’s big dairy cooperative, Darigold, is once again facing worker unrest. The Teamsters have filed an unfair labor practice charge, saying the company walked out of negotiations with a mediator. 

Washington state’s biggest private company is heading to mediation today with workers in Seattle, Issaquah and Tukwila. The negotiations between Darigold and its workers have gotten tense, and some staged an informational picket last week. 

Darigold’s butter and other dairy products are familiar to many shoppers in this area. It is a cooperative of more than 500 dairy farmers in the Pacific Northwest. In fiscal 2012, Darigold took in almost $2.5 billion in revenue.

The United Steelworkers union has reached a tentative deal with oil companies to avert a possible strike at dozens of refineries, including three important ones in the Northwest.

Negotiations over a new labor contract for refinery workers concluded mere hours before a late night deadline. The United Steelworkers and Shell Oil announced a tentative three-year deal that's intended to set the pattern for local agreements at unionized refineries nationwide.

Bargaining is going down to the wire on new labor contracts at three of the five big oil refineries in the Northwest. Union members have been told to prepare to strike as early as Wednesday.