The Stand

Amazon’s code, VA’s staffing, McD’s careers, what’s so funny…

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Friday, May 23, 2014

 


LOCAL

 

KPLU-amazon-security-workers► From KPLU — Security guard asks Amazon’s Bezos: What can your code of conduct do for me? — Daivon Young, who works for a company called Security Industry Specialists and is hired to guard Amazon headquarters, became an Amazon shareholder just to attend the meeting, so that he could address CEO Jeff Bezos directly about holding his employer to Amazon’s code of conduct. Young alleges Security Industry Specialists has unfairly fired employees, and has harassed him as he passed out leaflets urging others to join him in forming a union. Young says Amazon should hold the security company to the same standards that it requires of its retail suppliers. They include fair treatment and freedom of association.

“So, I asked Jeff Bezos, ‘What would your code of conduct do for me? What can you do about that?'” said Young, who stood up to ask the question during the meeting. “His address was no address. He just sent it off to another gentleman. The gentleman began to say, ‘We’re happy with the company that’s there, and some people want a union and some people don’t want a union.’ And that was it.”

► At HA Seattle — Muslim workers can sue Sea-Tac contractor for secretly feeding them pork — In a 5-4 decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Sea-Tac Airport workers have the right to sue their employer for providing lunches that fail to accommodate their religious beliefs:

Due to security concerns, the workers at Gate Gourmet can’t bring their own lunches to work. Nor can they leave work on their 30-minute lunch breaks. Instead, the company provides their lunches. While there are ostensibly vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, the workers say the vegetarian options include animal by-products and allege the company switched from turkey meatballs to beef-and-pork meatballs without telling them.

► At MyEverettNews.org — Everett employee health plan leading to huge ‘Cadillac tax’ under Affordable Care Act — The city of Everett’s generous employee health benefits may cost it more than $1.5 million dollars in a so-called “Cadillac Tax” under the Affordable Care Act. That wouldn’t kick in until 2018 but several city council members are expressing concern that the city would be paying such a high price for providing top medical benefits to its employees.

► At KUOW — Minimum wage limbo keeping small business owners up  at night — Many businesses report putting off hiring, expansion or investment decisions until the outcome of the minimum wage debate is clear. The sense of uncertainty extends even to those who have been public supporters of the mayor’s minimum wage plan.

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

inslee-jay-gov► In today’s Olympian — Gov. Inslee hints of 2015 pay increases for state workers — Labor-contract talks are quietly underway in Olympia, and early signs are that it’s not a question of if, but how much state workers will get in pay raises in 2015. Gov. Jay Inslee, whose labor team negotiates with unions, first said in December that state employees have “gone without COLA increases since 2008. That is just too long to wait.”

► In today’s News Tribune — Year after Skagit bridge crash, plans for online clearance map stalled — One year after one of Washington’s busiest freeway bridges was taken out by a truck carrying an oversized load, the state Transportation Department is struggling to find money to create a system that would better publicize height limitations of bridges.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Legislature’s school funding report to high court blasted — A recent report by Washington legislators on how they will improve public education is so lousy they should be held in contempt, plaintiffs in the landmark McCleary case over school funding told the state Supreme Court.

 


AEROSPACE

 

Boeing-Moses-Lake► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing spruces up Moses Lake facility for a surge of flight testing — For the first time, the former Air Force hangar sports a large blue Boeing logo, and a new coat of paint. Instead of looking like the military surplus structure it is, it now looks like a Boeing facility.

► From AP — Report: FAA too reliant on Boeing for battery test — The government failed to properly test the Boeing 787’s lithium-ion batteries and relied too much on Boeing for technical expertise, a new report says.

 


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

AFGE-Cox-JDavid► At Huffington Post — Want to end secret wait lists? Staff the VA (by AFGE President L. David Cox) — The public’s outrage over excessive wait times and rigged record keeping at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals is more than justified. As a former VA nurse, I understand all too well that depriving veterans of timely access to care is a disservice to them and their sacrifice to this nation. But cleaning house in the VA’s executive ranks will only treat the symptom. The disease plaguing the VA health care system is the chronic understaffing of physicians and other front-line providers.

► In the Washington Post — No action on unemployment extension as Senate leaves town — The Senate will not return until June 2 — more than five months after Congress allowed the benefits to expire. House Republican leaders have no plans to take up the Senate-passed unemployment benefits extension. In the meantime the number of long-term unemployed who have been cut off since the expiration is nearing 3 million.

► At fivethirtyeight.com — Cutting off emergency unemployment benefits hasn’t pushed people back to work — The economy has indeed improved, but not for the long-term unemployed, whose odds of finding a job are barely higher today than when the recession ended nearly five years ago. And the end of extended benefits hasn’t spurred the unemployed back to work; if anything, it has pushed them out of the labor force altogether.

► In The Hill —Dems press Obama to take executive action on immigration — Democrats say House Republican obstructionism on immigration is forcing Obama to use all the tools available to him.

 


NATIONAL

 

mcdonalds-help-me► From Reuters — McDonald’s CEO says fast-food jobs can lead to ‘real careers’ — As hundreds of protesters loudly demanded higher wages outside McDonald’s headquarters in suburban Chicago, the company’s CEO told an audience inside that the fast-food giant has a heritage of providing opportunities that lead to “real careers.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Of course, the truth is that McDonald’s pays such low wages that its employees can’t afford housing, health care, transportation, and other basic needs. That means taxpayers subsidize McDonald’s to help their employees survive — to the tune of $1.2 billion a year, one study estimates. Meanwhile, McCEO Don Thompson got paid $9.5 million last year to run a company that raked in billions in profits. Thanks for everything, America!

► In today’s Oregonian — HP plans to cut up to 16,000 more jobs — The world’s second-biggest personal-computer maker will eliminate 11,000 to 16,000 positions, on top of 34,000 already announced, the company said Thursday.

► In the Las Vegas Sun — Unions call for June 1 strike at nine downtown casinos — Union members working without a contract for nearly a year say they’ll strike at nine downtown casinos beginning June 1.

► At Salon — Koch brothers’ Detroit abomination: Stunning avarice and cruelty reaches new low — Why is their group giving millions to stop bipartisan bankruptcy settlement for Detroit? The details are harrowing.

 


T.G.I.F.

 

► This Memorial Day weekend, while we remember the men and women in the U.S. armed forces who lost their lives in the service of this country, The Entire Staff of the Stand™ believes that one of the best ways to honor the fallen is to avoid adding to their ranks unnecessarily. War should be a last resort, not an unending conflict that lacks clear, achievable objectives. Does it honor our fallen soldiers — and what they fought to protect — when we maintain an open-ended pre-authorization to attack anybody that our clearly fallible intelligence agencies deem a “terrorist” threat? Discuss. (Because too few of us are talking about this.)

That’s why this Nick Lowe song covered by Elvis Costello & the Attractions is even more relevant today than it was when it was recorded in 1978. Plus, it’s a fantastic song.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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