ILWU prez mistrial, ACA ‘tax,’ not just companions…
Monday, July 2, 2012
► From AP — Jurors can’t reach verdict in trial of ILWU President — A judge declared a mistrial after a six-person Cowlitz County jury couldn’t reach a verdict in the trial of the highest-ranking Longshore union member arrested in protests last year at the Port of Longview. Robert McEllrath, international president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, was charged with obstructing a train Sept. 7 when he stood on rail tracks with other protesters to block a train from entering a grain terminal. Although the charge was a misdemeanor, dockworkers came from all over the world to show solidarity.
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Port of Kalama project draws hire-local demonstration — About 50 union supporters rallied outside a Port of Kalama grain terminal Friday morning, urging the owners to hire local construction labor for an upcoming expansion project. Demonstrators held signs reading “Buy Local Build Local Support Local Workers” and “Employ Local Workers for Local Jobs” outside the Temco grain terminal at the southern end of the Port of Kalama. “That’s why we’re here — to support being local. Not just to put our (union) people back to work, but to put money back to local businesses,” said Mike Bridges, vice president of the Longview-Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council.
► In Sunday’s Columbian — Port of Vancouver’s rail project quietly chugs along — The massive public investment the Port is making to remodel its rails and to lure private investment could give Clark County a much-needed push toward a more visible progress and prosperity. The publicly funded project promises thousands of construction and full-time jobs.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Asparagus yields lower than expected because of labor shortage– A cool spring helped Tri-City farmers grow quality asparagus, but farmers said yields were lower than anticipated, partly because of a struggle to find enough workers.
► In today’s Columbian — Pay to county employees scrutinized — Policy of paying county employees for unused vacation and sick leave is likely to be reviewed.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Food stamps for legal immigrants sliced — Benefits under a program that gives food-stamp assistance to legal immigrants have just been cut in half, and the leader of Bremerton’s biggest food bank says her organization won’t be able to fill the void. About 82 households with legal immigrants in Kitsap County get help to buy basic foods through the state’s Food Assistance for Legal Immigrants program. They receive $228 a month on average, which after July 1 went down to $114.
► In today’s Olympian — State adds $55.4 million cushion on caseloads — This week’s quarterly caseload forecast is predicting smaller increases in many program enrollments through June 2013 — with the biggest savings coming in the Medicaid medical assistance to poor families. Bottom line: $55.6 million in reduced costs expected through mid-2013 and a $350 million cushion against state emergencies over the next year.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Court clears way for tax on roll-your-own cigarettes — A Superior Court judge had granted an injunction contingent on those fighting the tax posting a $200,000 bond to ensure the state’s interests are protected should it ultimately prevail. They didn’t.
► In today’s Olympian — Deal will return $4 million to state agencies– State agencies are getting a $4 million windfall in the next few months from a settlement that requires Ricoh Americas Corp. to repay them for overcharges on copier services provided since 2007.
► In today’s NY Times — EADS to build U.S. assembly line for Airbus A320 — Fabrice Brégier, the new chief executive of Airbus, arrived in Mobile, Ala., Sunday on the eve of an announcement that the European plane maker will invest $600 million over the next five years to build an assembly line for its popular A320 single-aisle jet. The move into the heart of Boeing’s home market is part of a long-term strategy aimed at doubling its share of the world’s largest market for 150-seat airplanes, which includes the U.S. company’s top-selling 737.
► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Gregoire’s goal at air show: Bring home business — The governor is leading a trade delegation to her first Farnborough show, which is held alternating years with the Paris Air Show. The air show is July 9-15 outside London.
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — The ‘tax’ attack on health care reform (by Danny Westneat) — “The court ruled today that, in fact, the Affordable Care Act is a tax,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) said last Thursday. “It is the largest tax in American history.” None of that is true. The court had ruled only that a penalty for not having insurance is a tax, not the entire act. And neither this tax, nor the entire act, is the largest tax hike in U.S. history. This tax falls on about 1% of people. And will bring in less than .2% of all federal tax revenues. Which means it’s more like one of the smaller taxes in American history. But by week’s end, McMorris Rodgers’ line had been repeated countless times, in sound bites, fundraising letters and tweets across the nation.
► At Huffington Post — Washington GOP gubernatorial candidate, who sued Obamacare, now accepts it (by Paul Abrams) — When faced with the choice between the people of Washington State and his radical right-wing friends from Texas, McKenna chose his right-wing friends, not Washington children, not Washington women, not Washington small businesses, not Washingtonians with pre-existing conditions. But, now McKenna says, he wants the ACA, including the mandate, to stand. That’s good. He is, to my knowledge, the first major defector from the radical right.
► In today’s Olympian — Health care battles need to stop so act can move forward (editorial) — Republicans should stop their selfish calls for repeal of the law – which are nothing more than a highly politicized attempt to make Barrack Obama a one-term president – and work for the benefit of all Americans.
► At Huffington Post — Sen. Mitch McConnell on 30 million uninsured Americans — The Republican leader in the U.S. Senate gave a surprising answer on “Fox News Sunday” when asked how Republicans would provide health care coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. “That is not the issue,” he said. (See the real issue at right.)
► In today’s Huffington Post — Amid heat wave, Con Edison locks out 8,500 union workers after talks break down — The action increased the risk of power outages if a continuing heat wave puts extra strain on the electrical grid for New York City and suburban Westchester county.
► From KPCC — Thousands protest proposed Wal-Mart in L.A.’s Chinatown — A loud, organized, colorful crowd met at the L.A. State Historic Park for a brief rally, and then marched into Chinatown down Broadway to protest a Walmart grocery store planned on Caesar Chavez Avenue. Many sporting labor union tshirts and signs complained that Walmart’s treatment of workers and low wages would disturb the unique charm of Chinatown.
► In the LA Times — Wal-Mart, organized labor’s battle of wills rages on — Labor groups, which take issue with Wal-Mart’s low-end wage scale and non-unionized workforce, have been pressuring elected officials for months to reject contributions from the chain.
► In The Hill — Millions face loss of jobless benefits as Congress delays action — As federal programs wind down this year, pressure will increase on lawmakers to consider an extension while the unemployment rate hovers around 8%.
► In today’s NY Times — At last, a transportation bill (editorial) — The transportation bill that just passed is far from perfect, but at least it more closely resembles the solid Senate measure than the appalling House one.
► At AFL-CIO Now — MADE IN AMERICA — This week, leading up to July 4, AFL-CIO Now is highlighting American products, jobs and stories for its Made in America series. What are your favorite Made in America products? Please comment and share your ideas:
► In today’s NY Times — Home care workers are not just ‘companions’ (by Eileen Boris and Jennifer Klein) — President Obama proposed revising a Labor Department rule so that it would give home attendants and aides the protections, like overtime pay, that most American workers take for granted. The agency is now deliberating on a final rule. On June 7, a dozen Senate Republicans sought to preempt Obama’s initiative and consign home-care workers to perpetual second-class status, introducing what they call the “Companionship Exemption Protection Act.”
With a work force of about 2.5 million, two-thirds of whom would be affected by the proposed rule, home health and personal care is the second-fastest-growing job category in the country, projected to double by 2018. As women, immigrants and service workers have become the new face of labor, what happens to home care matters for the shape of our economy, the fate of unionism and the establishment of a decent standard of living for all.
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