► In today’s Washington Post — Over protesters’ angry chants, Michigan lawmakers give final approval to right-to-work — Republican lawmakers have dealt a devastating and once-unthinkable defeat to organized labor in a place that has been a bastion of the movement for generations.
► At Huffington Post — Gov. Rick Snyder signs right-to-work bills into law in Michigan — “Gov. Snyder showed his true colors today: He’s a puppet of extreme donors, and he is willing to ignore and lie to his constituents,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “His action will undoubtedly please the Koch Brothers and corporate CEOs, but it will diminish the voice of every working man and woman in Michigan.”
► In today’s Washington Post — The Lansing-Beijing connection (by Harold Meyerson) — Defenders of right-to-work laws argue that they improve a state’s economy by creating more jobs. But an exhaustive study by economist Lonnie K. Stevans of Hofstra University found that states that have enacted such laws reported no increase in business start-ups or rates of employment. Wages and personal income are lower in those states than in those without such laws, Stevans concluded, though proprietors’ incomes are higher. In short, right-to-work laws simply redistribute income from workers to owners.
► At Politico — Labor’s plan to fight back— Labor unions are eyeing a large-scale counteroffensive against the conservative state leaders who have slashed away at union power since the 2010 midterm elections. For national labor groups, the upcoming gubernatorial elections in 2013 and 2014 may be a greater test of their political swat than even the 2012 presidential race.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Food company to replace striking Auburn workers — A company that distributes organic food to grocery stores says it is hiring replacement workers for striking union members at its Auburn distribution center. The United Natural Foods company denies accusations that it has engaged in unfair labor practices and says it is disappointed Teamsters Local 117 decided to strike.
ALSO at The Stand — Refusal to bargain, 45 ULPs force strike at United Natural Foods (Dec. 11)
► In today’s Columbian — Grain talks resume under federal mediator’s watch — Pacific Northwest grain terminal companies and the Longshore union have resumed contract talks in hopes of averting a lockout. A federal mediator joined the sides Tuesday; another session is scheduled for today.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Hanjin a critical win for Port of Seattle (by Jon Talton) — The port estimates that Hanjin’s Terminal 46 generates 20% of its cargo traffic, as well as 3,200 jobs. Revenues from the operation are $370 million a year plus $24 million in state and local taxes.
► In today’s Columbian — Coal hearing today expected to draw a crowd — Hundreds of people are expected to converge on Clark College later today for a public hearing on a proposed coal export facility near Bellingham.
► At IAM 751’s blog — IAM leader: Workers’ rights at heart of human rights — “The right to collectively bargain is a human right,” said Gary Allen, general vice president for the Machinists Union’s Western Territories, at the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission’s observance of International Human Rights Day. “The right to stand together, to protect ourselves and our loved ones against an inadequate and degrading lifestyle.”
► In today’s Daily News — Cowlitz commissioners approve 2013 budget with 5% cut for all departments — Department heads learned of the 5% cuts Monday and several testified Tuesday they didn’t have enough time to respond. They also said the cuts will mean layoffs and could, in the case of Superior Court, lead to legal challenges.
► In today’s Daily World — Grays Harbor County OKs budget that gives workers 2% raises — The budget does include an unpopular road levy shift that raises property taxes on residents within city limits and has been condemned by several city councils and nearly every mayor across the Harbor.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima schools ratify long-negotiated pacts— Four support-staff unions in the Yakima School District have new contracts, finally closing a difficult 16-month period of negotiations.
► From AP — Gregoire to propose major transportation package — Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday she is preparing a new transportation package that would rival the multibillion-dollar deal she helped approve in 2005. She will detail her plan during a budget proposal next week. The 2005 package included a 9.5-cent gas-tax increase and other revenues that were slated to total $7 billion over the span of 16 years.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Sen. Ed Murray: Being the minority better than taking ‘power-sharing’ proposal — If the choice is between accepting the proposal as announced or being the minority party with no committee leadership positions, Murray said he would choose the latter. “I think it would be healthier for the institution if 24 of us are a strong minority influencing the process as a minority,” he said. “I think it would make for a better product in the end.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Agreed! Senate Democrats shouldn’t want anything to do with the conservative budgets and policy — falsely advertised as “bipartisan” — that will be rammed through by the 25 Republicans of both parties.
► Today’s Shocker — With their party-switching power play, erstwhile Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon have done something Washington voters have refused to do for years, hand control of the State Senate to Republicans. What do the newspapers think? The Olympian, the only newspaper that supported Democratic Governor-Elect Jay Inslee, sees it as a “power grab that won’t necessarily solve anything.” Meanwhile, several of the newspapers that endorsed failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, arguing that it was time to give Republicans a chance to run things in Olympia, have weighed in and — shocker! — they love the political coup. The Seattle Times calls it “a welcome change,” the (Everett) Herald says it’s “an antidote to partisan inertia,” the Spokesman-Review says it offers “potential for solutions,” and the (Tacoma) News Tribune proclaims it “a healthy check on Democrats.”
► At SeattleTimes.com — If Tom becomes Majority Leader, who exactly would he lead?— If Sen. Mark Schoesler is leading the Republicans and Sen. Ed Murray is leading Democrats, who would Tom lead? No one has a good answer at this point, but Tom said he expects to move into the corner office, on the Democratic side of the Senate chambers, traditionally held by the Senate majority leader.
► At Politico — Poll: Obama has mandate to raise taxes — A new Bloomberg News national poll finds that 65 percent of those surveyed — including 45% of Republicans — say that Obama campaigned, ran and won on his pledge to hike taxes on income brackets over $250,000. Almost the same number of Americans — 64% — say that Obama also has a mandate to protect popular programs like Social Security and Medicare.
ALSO today at The Stand — Fiscal cliff or slope? Plenty of money, just not enough jobs (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)
► In The Hill — CEOs break with GOP on tax rates — More than 160 corporate executives on Tuesday expressed support for including tax-rate increases in a deficit deal, publicly breaking with Republican leaders who have ruled them out.
► In The Hill — Liberals: Leave Medicaid out of talks — Liberals are intensely — and successfully — pressing the White House to take Medicaid off the table in deficit-reduction talks.
► In today’s Washington Post — Talks to avert ‘fiscal cliff’ show no progress
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.
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