OLYMPIA—State government's largest labor union would get yearly raises and a new top pay rate under a contract negotiated with Gov. Chris Gregoire, officials said.
Workers also would get family leave for same-sex domestic partners and could challenge the state's process of contracting tasks to the private sector, a union spokesperson said.
The Washington Federation of State Employees and Gregoire's administration struck the deal a week ago but kept the details under wraps until last Friday, when the bulk of mail ballots started going out to union members.
The cost-of-living raises are similar to those negotiated with other state unions: 3.2 percent in 2007 and 2 percent in 2008, federation spokesperson Tim Welch said.
Adding a new top rate to the state pay scale will give a separate raise of 2.5 percent to some 20,000 state workers under the contract, Welch said. Those employees are presently at the top of the old scale.
In addition, about 9,900 state workers will get raises of 2.5 percent to 30 percent, based on their how far they fell behind peers in a salary survey.
SPOKANE—A state law that allowed counties to collect as much as $100 in booking fees from jail inmates was struck down by a federal judge because it violated constitutional protections for due process.
U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle struck down Spokane County's $89.12 booking fee and the state statute that authorized the fee.
Several other counties that collect similar fees were closely watching the outcome of this case, including Pierce, Franklin, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom.
Seattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with a number of Southeast Seattle community organizations, will present the first of four concerts from 1 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept.10, in Othello Playground, 4351 S. Othello St.
The lineup includes Mamba Cadillac; Grupo Bayno; Global Heat and Amber Tide.
Louise Wedge, of the Recovery Association Project, stands alongside the Interstate Bridge during last week's Hands Across the Bridge event, a celebration of local residents' triumphs over drug and alcohol addiction. The event, now in its fifth year, drew approximately 2,500 participants.
WASHINGTON—Many more White children use the Internet than do Hispanic and Black students, a reminder that going online is hardly a way of life for everyone.
Two of every three White students — 67 percent — use the Internet, but less than half of Blacks and Hispanics do, according to federal data released Tuesday.
NEW YORK--The nation and the world began a solemn observance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Monday, with sorrowful family members clutching photos of the victims at the World Trade Center site and quiet remembrances planned around the country.
A moment of silence was observed at ground zero at 8:46 a.m., commemorating the moment American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the trade center's north tower.
On the 16-acre New York City expanse where the World Trade Center once stood, three more moments of silence were observed at 9:03, 9:59 and 10:29 a.m., the times when the second jetliner struck one of the twin towers, and when each tower fell.
Family members began arriving before 7 a.m. at the trade center site, some clutching bouquets of roses and framed photos of their loved ones. Others wore pins bearing pictures of the victims.
"I think it's important that people remember as years go on," said Diana Kellie, of Acaconda, Mont., whose niece and niece's fiance were killed on one of the planes. "The dead are really not dead until they're forgotten."
A multimedia video production training center is being developed at The Skanner Newsgroup's North Portland offices.
The Skanner Newsgroup is partnering with The Skanner Foundation, the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission and Portland Community Media to create the production center.
The center was conceived to address the lack of equipment access and training opportunities in North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods and will help to balance the disparities found in every African American community in the United States.
The anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall has brought the issue of emergency preparedness into the national spotlight. While hurricanes aren't a threat here in the Pacific Northwest, we nonetheless face a range of potential large-scale disasters, including volcanoes, floods, earthquakes and another sort of emergency that's on the minds of public health officials everywhere — an influenza pandemic.
"It's not a question of if we will have an influenza pandemic — it's a question of when," said Susan M. Allan, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., director of the state of Oregon's Public Health Division. "Some day there will be a pandemic."
Dealing with just such a pandemic was the subject of a statewide conference held last week at the Oregon Convention Center. Public health officials from the state, county and municipal levels, along with emergency response and law enforcement personnel, researchers and representatives of community health organizations met to discuss how they would work together in the event of a deadly flu outbreak.