In Labor-friendly Seattle, Unions Push for New Territory

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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