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In Labor-friendly Seattle, Unions Push for New Territory

Benjamin Romano
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As Labor Day approached, the movement that created the holiday flexed its muscle in Seattle, where the landscape has been transformed in the last few years by labor-backed measures protecting and compensating people like in few other places across the country.

Crane operators and their union had quieted the region with a strike that put billions of dollars of construction projects on hold for nearly a fortnight. Teachers in Seattle threatened to delay the start of the school year, demanding pay raises they say they need to afford to live where they work. A pot-shop chain willingly unionized, and retail workers picketed Macy’s.

In many respects,this is old hat in a city that next February will see the centennial of a general strike that brought the place to a halt. Labor leaders are looking at the string of victories in Seattle and other big cities as they try to build momentum for unions nationally against significant headwinds.

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