Stick it to ‘em, social efficiency, co-opting unions…
Monday, August 27, 2012
MAKE THEM PAY!
► In the Seattle Times — State’s labor negotiators need to save money for education (editorial) — On Tuesday, the state will resume negotiations with the WFSE over the contracts that begin July 1, 2013. The state’s labor negotiators have to be tough. The state must make a down payment on its obligation to education, and it has to have the money to do it with.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Once again, The Seattle Times editorial board advocates for the further erosion of state employees’ pay and benefits so the state can pay for more important things. Like education! And ongoing multimillion tax breaks for newspapers. Well, better just stick with education.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmakers raise concerns over Port chief’s side job — A letter signed by 13 state legislators questions whether Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani’s new position as a director of Expeditors International creates a conflict of interest.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Port of Longview posts one of best 2nd quarters ever — Booming business at the new EGT grain terminal helped offset a plunge in log exports, port officials say.
► In the Seattle Times — Inslee’s political career took off as Democrat in GOP territory — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee cut his teeth — politically and professionally — in a Republican-leaning pocket of Eastern Washington.
► At TheOlympian.com — Eyman loses I-1185 argument in court — Tim Eyman tried his hand as a lawyer in court Friday and pretty much lost his shorts. A Thurston County judge threw out Eyman’s claim that the OFM needs to change its estimate of taxpayer costs for Initiative 1185 in the voters pamphlet.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Taxpayers get bang for their buck with Social Security, Medicare — Since 1979, Medicare costs per beneficiary have grown cumulatively 40% more slowly than equivalent benefits provided by private insurers. The average family insurance plan provided by employers today costs $15,000. If the private sector had managed to constrain costs as effectively as Medicare over this time, it would only cost $9,100 — giving workers with family health insurance plans a potential boost to wages of just under $6,000.
► From AP — AP poll: Raise taxes to save Social Security — Most Americans say go ahead and raise taxes if it will save Social Security benefits for future generations. And raise the retirement age, if you have to. Both options are preferable to cutting monthly benefits, even for people who are years away from applying for them.
► In today’s Milwaukee J-S — Palermo’s CEO, AFL-CIO chief may meet on strike — Palermo Villa Inc. CEO Giacomo Fallucca and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka are trying to set a time and place to meet to talk about union organizing efforts and the labor strike at the frozen pizza manufacturing plant in Milwaukee.
► In today’s NY Times — The Amtrak option (editorial) — As more travelers choose rail, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie and Republicans in Washington should be doing everything in their power to improve train service, not stand in the way.
► At Huffington Post — For GOP, pitfalls in ignoring poor (by Peter Goodman) — As more middle-class families suffer growing proximity to poverty, Republicans will face greater electoral risks in ignoring the needs of people who require help. More than merely heartless, this strategy will widen the distance between Republicans and the experiences of Americans who used to feel secure and don’t anymore.
► At The Hill — Poll: Obama, Romney in dead heat nationally — The race for the White House could scarcely be closer as Republicans gather in Tampa, Fla., on Monday to officially nominate Mitt Romney as their candidate.
► In today’s Washington Post — Isaac forces Republicans to rework convention schedule
► At Salon — “They want to run us to death” — In two weeks, Democrats will gather in Charlotte, N.C., and pledge once more to strengthen the right of workers to join unions and negotiate with their bosses. But the convention’s success depends on the work of the city’s sanitation workers, who are banned by law from exercising that right. North Carolina is one of only two in the country to ban all levels of government from negotiating any contracts with public employees’ unions. A union that represents sanitation workers says they have been working up to 15 hours a day and up to seven days a week due to pre-convention pressures, inadequate staffing and high turnover.
► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Corporate America gloms onto unions’ pitch (by David Sirota) — One spot for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (read: the casinos) shows a woman climbing onto her desk to demand a vacation. Another for McDonald’s implores us to fight back against employers and “overthrow the working lunch.” Still another for a Coca-Cola subsidiary seizes on the stress of harsh working conditions to create buzz for a branded “Take the Year Off” contest.
In one sense, this is good news for organized labor — at a moment when unions are under assault, the ads reflect polls showing persistent mass support for both the concept of worker solidarity and the economic outrage voiced by worker protests. Indeed, companies wouldn’t be echoing such themes if they didn’t know they were wildly popular.
And yet, that’s also why organized labor can’t take too much solace. Image-wise, the ad campaign undermines unions by effectively severing the popular pro-worker message from the labor movement brand. Preposterously, the spots insinuate that workers can get better treatment — and wield real power in the employer-employee relationship — wholly without unions.
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