► In the Federal Way Mirror — Walmart workers protest ahead of Black Friday — Several longtime employees of the Federal Way Walmart store voiced their frustrations to the crowd. Aside from poorly resolved conflicts with store management, employee Sara Gilbert said her fellow co-workers face problems such as getting their hours cut and dealing with an overall lack of respect.
► In the News Tribune — Hundreds gather in Federal Way to support striking Walmart workers — Protests by Walmart workers that are spreading across the country came to Federal Way on Thursday, with between 20 and 30 employees leading a rally demanding better working conditions and pay. The employees, from six Western Washington Walmart stores, gathered outside the store on South 314th St., cheered on by at least 200 supporters. The large group marched between a staging area at the end of the parking lot and the front of the store, chanting and talking to customers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing confirms third line for 737 — Boeing confirmed Thursday it will build a third assembly line for its 737 MAX jet family alongside one of the two existing lines in Renton. Within the next five years, the company will hire hundreds of new production workers to staff its burgeoning Renton assembly lines and will also add hundreds of engineering jobs for the MAX.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing, SPEEA no closer to a contract — The situation has prompted some engineers — the ones who certify Boeing jets on behalf of the government — to meet this week to discuss ways to show their frustration. Those “authorized representatives,” as they are called, have the final say on whether planes are ready to be delivered to customers. They could send a signal to Boeing simply by deciding to strictly abide by policies and contract provisions — for example, by refusing voluntary overtime. The result could be a slower rate of jet deliveries.
► Latest vote count in the 17th LD — Don Benton (R) leads Tim Probst (D) by 105 votes (five fewer than the last count), and Monica Stonier (D) leads Julie Olson (R) by 75 votes (32 more than the last count). Next Clark County tally due today at 5 p.m.
► In today’s Columbian — Seeking ‘cure’ for close election contests– Campaigns are now reaching out to voters with contested ballots to make sure they go through the ballot rehabilitation process, also known as “curing” their vote. They’re also keeping an eager eye on the Clark County Elections Department.
► In The Stranger — Shut up about changing the election deadline! (by Goldy) — Some want to move our ballot deadline from postmarked by Election Day to received by Election Day. It is a plan that would disenfranchise thousands of late voters whose ballots get delayed in the mail, or who lack transportation to drop boxes, or who are simply confused by the imperative to vote before Election Day. And it is a plan that is based on a stupid, lazy argument that is simply not supported by the facts: It’s not the ballot deadline that’s the bottleneck — it’s the ballot processing — a conclusion that should be obvious to anyone who’s bothered to look at the stats. But why do it when just 9% of voters said they were “dissatisfied” with the pace of returns in a recent KCE survey.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Could coup install Rodney Tom as Senate Majority Leader?– Republicans are discussing another takeover of the state Senate — and installing Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom as the new majority leader. Tom, a former Bellevue Republican who switched parties, said GOP senators have broached the subject with him, and Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt on Thursday confirmed the discussion.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Charter schools measure may face court challenge — Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says the new Washington Charter School Commission bypassing his office and approving a school run with public funds is counter to Washington’s constitution, which says the SPI “shall have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools.”
► In today’s Columbian — Rep. Wylie talks revenue reform with local crowd — Wylie joined a group of freshman legislators with the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan tax research organization, to detail the tax system’s impact and offer potential long-term solutions. This is her first community discussion on revenue reform, with two others planned for Tacoma and Shoreline.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State unemployment report mixed — The state’s economy added a net 6,700 jobs last month, with gains in almost every sector, from retail to financial services to construction.The unemployment rate dipped to 8.2% from 8.5% last month. But the survey indicated the rate fell because more job-seekers dropped out of the labor force.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Striking Symphony musicians plan benefit concert, forum — Saturday’s performance is an effort to raise relief money to support musicians during the strike, said musician Adam Wallstein, and “will be a celebration of artistic excellence and professional musicianship.”
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Pension benefits for Hanford non-union workers to be cut starting in 2014 — The Hanford pension plan for nonunion workers is being changed in 2014 to reduce benefits accrued that year and later. The change does not extend to workers for the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council and the Hanford Guard Union.
► In today’s NY Times — Life, death and deficits (by Paul Krugman) — The bottom line is that raising the age of eligibility for either Social Security benefits or Medicare would be destructive, making Americans’ lives worse without contributing in any significant way to deficit reduction. Democrats, in particular, who even consider either alternative need to ask themselves what on earth they think they’re doing. There is no good case for denying older Americans access to the programs they count on. This should be a red line in any budget negotiations, and we can only hope that President Obama doesn’t betray his supporters by crossing it.
► In The Hill — Obama, Boehner launch second effort to reach grand fiscal deal — As the talks begin formally at the White House on Friday, lawmakers and special-interest groups are scrambling to figure out who else will be in the room and how to influence the outcome.
► In today’s Washington Post — Senate works on fiscal cliff options — If President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner can’t reach a deal, the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Six is drafting legislation based on the recommendations of Obama’s fiscal commission, known as Bowles-Simpson.
► At Huffington Post — Federal workers at fiscal cliff tell Congress ‘enough is enough’ — Worried about further pay freezes and pension cuts, the unions representing federal and postal workers have a message for legislators seeking a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction: Don’t look to us for more savings.
► From AP — Hostess to wind down ops, lay off 18,500 workers — Hostess, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, plans to go out of business, lay off its 18,500 workers and sell its snack cake and bread brands. Hostess suspended bakery operations at all its factories. The company had warned employees that it would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell assets if plant operations didn’t return to normal levels by Thursday evening.
ALSO TODAY in the Stand — Union: Blame failed management at Hostess
► In today’s Washington Post — Postal Service reports loss of $15 billion — The widely expected loss, more than triple the service’s loss last year, included accounting expenses of $11.1 billion related to two payments that the agency was supposed to make into its future retiree health benefits fund. Despite its financial troubles, officials said that the Postal Service would keep operating as usual and that employees and suppliers would be paid on time. The agency said the revenue from political mail and the holiday season should help its cash situation until Congress acts on legislation to overhaul the post office.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. extends deadline for states on health insurance exchanges — Friday was the original deadline. Now, the White House says, states have until the middle of next month to decide whether they will establish and operate online markets where consumers can shop for health insurance under the new health care law. (We decided.)
► In today’s NY Times — Affirmative action ban in Michigan is rejected — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled, 8 to 7, on Thursday that Michigan’s voter-approved 2006 ban on affirmative action was unconstitutional.
► “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the Muppets, released three years ago this month, got 10 million views in its first two weeks. It was recorded using tracks from Queen’s original version, with the band’s enthusiastic cooperation. “We don’t often do this — it’s only because of our respect for these people as artists that we’d do this,” said Queen guitarist Brian May. “I’m sure Freddie (Mercury) would feel the same way. I immediately thought it was brilliantly done.”
Have a great weekend — brought to you by the Labor Movement.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.
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