Local 338 is an amalgamated union representing four separate bargaining units: Kaiser Aluminum - production/maintenance and clerical/technical workers, Kaiser Alutek workers, and LB Foster pre-cast/railroad ties division workers. We number more than 1000 private sector members who work primarily in manufacturing industries in North Eastern Washington.

 

 
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CARBON EMISSION UPDATE

On February 11 and 12, Rich Prete and I met in Olympia with Legislators from the 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9th. Legislative Districts to lobby support for a sensible approach to reducing carbon emissions here in Washington State. Some of the policies under consideration include the Department of Ecology’s Clean Air Rule, as well as potential ballot initiatives (e.g. the Initiative 732 carbon tax), legislation and/or additional rulemaking over the next couple of years.


As a Union leader representing more than 800 members who work for Kaiser Aluminum here in the Spokane Valley, I don’t want to choose between economic growth and protecting our environment. We need to find a way to do both. If our state implements a carbon policy that reduces carbon by closing factories and sending our jobs out of state or overseas then they have failed the citizens. Any new policies must focus on protecting jobs and our middle class way of life.


At Trentwood we make aluminum products used in the aerospace industry. These lightweight components are a critical factor in reducing aviation fuel consumption. Due to these types of products, air transportation has increased fuel efficiency by more than 40 percent since 2000. That’s the kind of progress we can all brag about! Looking to the future, any future climate policies introduced here in Washington State should include the following four core objectives:

  1. Promotion of domestic content to provide job security while reducing carbon emissions by preventing use of imported goods from countries with lax environmental laws.  We also believe the state should adopt trade-compliant procurement policies that “complement” carbon reduction policies by requiring the purchase of goods made locally -- and with less carbon-intensity -- for all publicly financed infrastructure projects.
  2. Prevention of “leakage,” the unfortunate phenomenon that occurs when public policy results in companies seeking less regulated operations in other states or countries – taking both jobs and carbon emissions with them and doing nothing to address the problem of climate change.
  3. Investment in jobs by using revenues from any carbon-pricing programs to help existing companies and employees maintain operations, whether through support of energy efficiency improvements, through allowances, or by other means. 
  4. Compliance flexibility for Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed Industries (EITE) so they can maximize opportunities to comply with carbon reduction requirements.  (For example, both Kaiser and USW Local 338 support crediting the company for its dramatic decrease in the carbon intensity of its production process.)

As carbon reduction polices are being scrutinized and developed here in Washington, we met with and asked the following legislators to take into account the four objectives listed above with a consensus that it would benefit Labor, Business, and the Environment. 

 

Senator Andy Billig (D)
Deputy Minority Leader
3rd Legislative District

Representative Timm Ormsby (D)
3rd Legislative District

Representative Marcus Riccelli (D)
Deputy Majority Whip
3rd Legislative District

Senator Mike Padden (R)
4th Legislative District

Representative Bob McCaslin (R)
4th Legislative District

Representative Matt Shea (R)
Assistant Minority Floor Leader
4th Legislative District

Senator Michael Baumgartner (R)
6th Legislative District

Representative Kevin Parker (R)
6th Legislative District

Representative Jeff Holy (R)
6th Legislative District

Senator Brian Dansel (R)
7th Legislative District

Representative Shelly Short (R)
Minority Caucus Chair
7th Legislative District
 
Representative Joel Kretz (R)
Deputy Minority Leader
7th Legislative District

Senator Mark Schoesler (R)
Majority Leader
9th Legislative District

Representative Mary Dye (R)
9th Legislative District

Representative Joe Schmick (R)
Minority Caucus Vice Chair
9th Legislative District

 

Dan Wilson
President Local 338
United Steelworkers

 

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CARBON EMISIONS UPDATE

On December 22, the Washington State Department of Ecology was supposed to publish their draft of the new clean air rules, but at the time of this publication a finalized plan was not yet available. Carbon Washington which is sponsoring Initiative-732 now has 334,000 signatures. Their plan is modeled off of British Columbia’s 2008 plan which taxes all fossil fuels. The tax is used to off set sales taxes and revenue generated by emitters is re-distributed to low income households. The way I see it, this plan does little to help the impoverished who need middle class job opportunities. In fact this plan may work in reverse by shuttering the factories which pay livable wages while transferring jobs and carbon emissions to other regions with fewer regulations. Many of us employed by manufacturers here in Washington State work in occupations that are energy intense and trade exposed making us vulnerable to domestic and global competitors. In the latest turn of events we recently learned that Carbon Washington has considered joining forces with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. Both “Washington Carbon” and the “Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy” have different plans which are separate from the Department of Ecology's’. As the carbon issue gets more and more complicated it’s important that you stay current on what is happening and take time to speak with family members, neighbors and friends about what labor is doing to protect middle income jobs while looking for a sensible approach to emission reductions. As more information becomes available I’ll give everyone an update at our next union meeting on January 12.

 

Letter from Dan Wilson

Click to view letter

 

Letter from Assistant Director Chris Youngmark

Click to view letter