State Labor Council convenes in Vancouver

Inslee, Murray, Heck among speakers at 3-day convention

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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The three-day 2013 convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO — the state's largest union organization — kicks off at 9 a.m. today at the Hilton Vancouver Washington. The convention will feature a visit by Gov. Jay Inslee, remarks by Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, a video address by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and numerous workshops addressing key topics, including creating environmentally sustainable jobs and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The theme of the convention, "Building Bridges: Labor and Community," highlights the gathering's aim to "build community coalitions to achieve broadly shared prosperity for working families," according to a news release issued by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. The convention arrives in a region marked by several disputes between workers and employers, including the months-long standoff over a labor contract between union dockworkers in Vancouver and United Grain Corp. at the Port of Vancouver.

Today, the convention begins at 9 a.m. with greetings from Leavitt and Shannon Walker, president of the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Workshops include "The Affordable Care Act and Beyond," and "Cooperatives: The Solution Unions Have Been Looking For."

On Friday, the convention reconvenes at 8:30 a.m. and features several panel discussions, including a "Creating Sustainable Jobs" panel. Gov. Inslee is expected to attend a noon to 1:30 p.m. lunch closed to public and media. The convention wraps up Saturday and will include a video address from Murray and remarks by U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash.