Hytek hypocrisy, prefunding USPS, the cost of war…
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — After cooling off, Boeing-SPEEA contract talks resume — The company and union began discussions back in April on a new contract for 22,950 engineers and technical workers — about half of whom work in Everett — responsible for designing and testing Boeing aircraft. SPEEA members rejected Boeing’s first offer in October. Contract talks and rhetoric spiraled down from there.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — SPEEA prepares for strike as talks resume
► At IAM 751′s blog — Machinists picket Hytek after winning NLRB ruling — The pre-Christmas picketing came after an NLRB ruling that Hytek management committed eight separate violations of the law since the start of negotiations with IAM District 751 over a contract for more than 175 union members who work for the aerospace supplier. Among their findings, NLRB investigators determined that Hytek managers improperly withheld information from the union necessary for fair bargaining and improperly withheld important information about chemical releases at the plant that impacted the health and safety of both workers and the public.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile, the CEO of Hytek parent company Esterline Technologies, has been fawningly profiled in Seattle Business as a “Titan of Tomorrow.” Says CEO R. Bradley Lawrence, who raked in $2.4 million last year: “How we do things is as important as what we accomplish.”
Says Editor D. Nolan Groves: “Ri-ight.”
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Caterpillar showing off new center in Spokane — With a price tag of roughly $37 million, the warehouse will be Caterpillar’s parts distribution center for the Northwest and Canada. A spokeswoman says the plant has hired 150 workers.
► At PubliCola — Tom showdown — State Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue), the dissident Democrat who abandoned his party’s caucus to team up with the Republicans — giving the GOP the majority and making Tom the new senate majority leader — held a town hall last night. One man in the audience accused Tom of having misrepresented himself to voters by running as a Democrat. He said he was working against Tom now, and he asked for a show of hands: who was against Tom and who was for him? It wasn’t pretty. It was about 80 to six against Tom.
ALSO at The Stand — Nobody’s “crying out” for self-serving Senate Tom-foolery
► In today’s Seattle Times — Sen. Pam Roach faces new report saying she mistreated a staffer — A Republican state senator who is set to lead a committee under a new legislative coalition violated a Senate policy on treatment of staff members shortly after she was allowed back into the GOP caucus last year.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State schools chief wants charter law changed — State schools chief Randy Dorn on Tuesday asked legislative leaders to amend the voter-approved charter school law so his office rather than an independent commission oversees the publicly funded, privately run schools. Meanwhile, the WEA is pondering a legal challenge of the law.
► In today’s Olympian — Innovation needed to solve state’s gas-tax problem (editorial) — As more and more people are turning to all-electric and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, there is a corresponding decline in gas tax revenue. And this creates a conundrum for the state Department of Transportation: how to pay for upgrading and maintaining our roadways.
► At PubliCola — Don’t talk like an elephant (by Brendan Williams) — The latest Elway Poll suggests that, by co-opting the Republican message, Democrats too, have sold the message all-cuts budgets do no harm. The only way to educate the public as to the need for revenue is to stop talking like an elephant.
► In today’s Washington Post — GAO calls on USPS to prefund retiree benefits — The GAO report gives something to both sides, saying that the USPS should prefund its retiree health benefits, while acknowledging that it currently is too broke to do it. Meanwhile, USPS CFO Joseph Corbett criticized the GAO for releasing a report that did not include the controversial USPS proposal to sponsor its own health-care plan, outside of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan that now covers postal workers.
► In today’s Washington Post — Naming post offices a priority for Congress as legislation to help Postal Service failed
EDITOR’S NOTE — “I know, let’s call this one: Closed.”
► In The Hill — Angry with McCaskill, flight attendants press members to resolve union flap — A group of flight attendants who joined American Airlines in a previous merger is asking Congress to resolve a turbulent union fight before the company combines again with US Airways. The contentious issue has sparked so much tension between the flight attendants and Sen. Claire McCaskill that the Missouri Democrat’s office has said it will no longer communicate with them.
► In The Hill — D.C. business groups worry that debt-ceiling deal will raise taxes, too — Even as business lobbyists call for swift action to increase the $16.4 trillion borrowing cap, they are also pushing back against Democratic calls for new tax revenue in a “balanced” package to cut the deficit.
THE COST OF WAR
► From AP — U.S. may leave no troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 — The Obama administration says it might leave no troops in Afghanistan after December 2014, an option that defies the Pentagon’s view that thousands of troops may be needed to contain al-Qaida and to strengthen Afghan forces.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In 2012, 310 U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, nearly one per day, for a total of 2,174 since 2001. (See the Washington Post’s Faces of the Fallen to learn about who these soldiers were, including the 54 who were Washington state residents.) Union delegates at the Washington State Labor Council’s 2011 Convention approved a resolution supporting “a significant drawdown of military personnel from Afghanistan… setting a firm end date for total withdrawal as soon as that can be accomplished, but in no event later than the 2014 timeline previously announced by President Obama.”
► At AFL-CIO Now — Now that the election’s over, the real battles in the states begin — Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013.
► At Politico — D.C.’s jaw drops at possibility of AIG lawsuit — Remember when AIG took a $182 billion bailout only to turn around and hand out seven-figure bonuses to the same guys who tanked their company? Grab the pitchforks — it gets better. Now the insurance organization might join a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the terms of the bailout — saying the deal that saved the company cheated shareholders.
► In today’s NY Times — Another slap on the wrist (editorial) — A new deal on foreclosure abuses does more for banks than for borrowers.
► From AP — At least 52 million domestic workers, many of them women, excluded from labor laws — The U.N. research found that 83% of all the domestic workers were women, many of them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse because of their lack of knowledge of local languages and laws or because they are often paid a flat weekly or monthly fee that is not based on how many hours they work.
► In today’s LA Times — Walmart can be made defendant in workers’ lawsuit, judge rules –A federal judge ruled that Walmart can be added as a defendant to a class-action lawsuit brought by temporary warehouse workers in the Inland Empire.
► In today’s NY Times — Health care and profits, a poor mix (by Eduardo Porter) — Conflicting financial incentives in health care raise a broader, more important question: How much should we rely on the private sector to satisfy broad social needs?
► At AFL-CIO Now — 10 reasons all workers benefit from fixing the immigration system — There are 12 million aspiring citizens who love this country and call it home. Like immigrants before them, they came to this country for freedom and the opportunity to provide a better life for their children. These immigrant families work hard, pay their taxes and contribute to their communities. But because of a broken and punitive immigration process that tears families from each other, there really is no “line” these aspiring citizens can get into to adjust their status and start down the pathway to citizenship.
YESTERDAY at The Stand — Washington state must lead on immigrant integration (by Pramila Jayapal)
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