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Union numbers up, E-Verify opposition, austerity fail…

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LIVE BETTER, WORK UNION!

 

► In the LA Times — Union membership grew nationally in 2011 — U.S. labor unions picked up 49,000 new members in 2011. Young people between 16 and 24 years old accounted for almost a third of the new jobs, the AFL-CIO reports. Overall, unions gained 110,000 new jobs in the private sector last year. Part of that gain was offset by the loss of 61,000 public sector posts.

EDITOR’S NOTE — With 19% of all workers in the state being union members, Washington State remains the 4th most heavily unionized, trailing New York, Alaska and Hawaii.

► At IAM 751’s blog — Union members earn $11,000 a year more — Union workers in 2011 earned on average nearly $11,000 a year more than their non-union counterparts, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, union workers were paid 29% more than their non-union counterparts last year. “We often say it pays to be union, and this report shows that it’s literally true,” said Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “That’s the union advantage.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Live better, work union!

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► From AP — Bill aims to slow down E-Verify— In Olympia, it’s not all that often that immigrant advocacy groups and farmers are on the same side of a proposed bill. But the unlikely allies have teamed up this session to push a measure aimed at stopping more cities and counties from adopting a federal program that checks an individual’s eligibility to work in the country. The formidable coalition of farmers, immigrant groups, labor and religious groups say that a national overhaul of the immigration system is needed before more enforcement is mandated, and state and local governments shouldn’t interfere.

► In the Seattle Times — Surplused profits should be factored into insurance-rate decisions (editorial) — SB 5247, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma), would empower the insurance commissioner to take into account a category of retained profit when approving rate increases. We believe the state should have that authority.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Pensions aren’t the problem for state budgets — The typical AFSCME member — men and women who plow our streets, care for the sick, protect our children, clean our buildings and keep our communities safe — receives a pension of approximately $19,000 a year after a career of public service. The employees have earned and paid for these pensions. But the corporate-backed opponents of pensions are creating a myth that the system is falling apart and that state and local governments are going bankrupt because of the $19,000 pensions sanitation workers are earning.

► In the Columbian — CRC tolls on table in Olympia — Sen. Craig Pridemore says that, however unpopular, having users help pay for the new bridge beats the other options.

► In the Tri-City Herald — Sen. Benton wants English to be official state language


ELECTION

 

► At HeraldNet.com — GOP field clears for John Koster in 1st congressional race — In addition to Koster, there are six Democrats and an Independent running: Suzan DelBene of Medina, Darcy Burner of Carnation, state Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, state Rep. Roger Goodman of Kirkland, Laura Ruderman of Kirkland and Darshan Rauniyar of Bothell, plus Independent Larry Ishmael of Kirkland.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Newcomer Baumgartner aims high for Cantwell’s seat— After a year as a Washington state senator, Michael Baumgartner, 35, is looking for his next job: the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Maria Cantwell. He’s the only Republican running so far, but the GOP has yet to fully embrace him.

 


LOCAL

 

► In the News Tribune — Tacoma fire union OKs concessions to avoid layoffs— After two days of voting, IAFF Local 31 agrees to delay pay raises as part of $1.6 million in proposed concessions to help spare 44 firefighters from a first wave of layoffs amid the city’s budget crisis.

► In the Columbia Basin Herald — Katana hiring workers in Ephrata— Wind tower manufacturer Katana Summit is hiring about 120 employees to work on an upcoming job.

► From AP — Starbucks CEO paid $16 million in 2011— But Howard Schultz’s compensation shrank by 26% compared to 2010.

FROM THE GOOD OL’ DAYS — Union-buster Howard Schultz is state’s highest-paid CEO (June 22, 2010)

 


NATIONAL

 

► In The Hill — No benefit from tax holiday, say majority of voters — Fifty-four percent said the tax holiday has not helped them financially, while only 25% said it had been a help. President Obama and congressional Democrats have made the temporary extension of the payroll-tax cut — which dropped the tax rate from 6.2% to 4.2% — a top priority.

► At Columbus Record-Courier — Kasich: Wrong time to tackle ‘right-to-work’ — Gov. John Kasich says that he doesn’t think Ohio is ready to tackle a right-to-work issue. Instead, he said backers of such proposals should educate the public about the need for it before placing the issue on an election ballot.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In today’s NY Times — The austerity debacle (Paul Krugman column) — Look at Britain to see the tragic effects of a very bad idea. The infuriating thing is that it was completely unnecessary. Half a century ago, any economist could have told you that austerity in the face of depression was a very bad idea. But policy makers, pundits and many economists decided, largely for political reasons, to forget what they used to know. And millions of workers are paying the price for their willful amnesia.



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