The Stand

‘The way we operate’ ● Where are the wages? ● Splitting us in two

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Window, door maker Jeld-Wen announces plans to close Yakima plant; 180 jobs affected — Jeld-Wen has notified local and state officials of the closure. It has a program in place to move employees to its other facilities or provide outplacement services for those who will transition to new jobs, a company spokesman said, adding: “The Yakima facility closure will support our value of improving daily by doing everything we can to advance the way we operate and do business.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Reread that quote. What the hell does that mean? Anything?

► From Crosscut — Despite city’s efforts, Seattle police force is shrinking — After the city force shrunk by 41 officers last year, Mayor Durkan is scrambling to recruit with $15,000 bonuses.

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State panel bumps up pay for lawmakers, governor and judges — State lawmakers are set to get a nearly 17 percent pay raise this summer. And salaries for governor, the eight other statewide executives and hundreds of judges are climbing as well, courtesy of action Monday by the independent citizen commission that decides pay scales for the state’s legislative, executive and judicial branches.

► From AP — Inslee signs update to deadly force initiative — Supported by both activists and police groups, the signing brought to a close a long, often contentious process that included drawn-out negotiations between the two sides.

► In the Cascadia Advocate — Kris Lytton, Liz Lovelett, and Trevor Smith nominated to replace Kevin Ranker in 40th LD — A special nominating caucus called by State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski has drawn up a list of three individuals to replace resigned state Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40th). They are Kris Lytton (who recently retired from the House), Liz Lovelett (a member of the Anacortes City Council), and Trevor Smith (Business Agent for LIUNA Local 292 and Secretary-Treasurer of the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council).

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Washington Post — State of the Union address: Trump to pitch bipartisanship amid rancor with Democrats — Trump is expected to call for more bipartisan cooperation in his State of the Union address Tuesday night as he stands before a Congress bitterly divided over his demand for border-wall funding that resulted in a 35-day partial government shutdown.

► In today’s NY Times — A more honest State of the Union (editorial) — America has many needs. A 30-foot-high wall on the Mexican border is not one of them.

► In the Boston Globe — Warren invites federal worker affected by shutdown to State of the Union — Sajid Shahriar, who is based in Massachusetts and works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was furloughed for the length of the 35-day shutdown.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Patty Murray has reportedly invited Alex Navarro, an air traffic controller who is married to a fellow air traffic controller.

► From The Hill — Poll: Supporting ‘Medicare for All’ helps presidential candidates — Presidential hopefuls who back universal, government-provided health care are more likely to receive public support than candidates who don’t, according to a new poll.

► From Newsweek — More than 80% of Americans want undocumented immigrants to have ‘chance to become U.S. citizens’ — The Gallup poll found that at least 81 percent of Americans would like to see immigrants provided with a path to citizenship.

► From Reuters — Prosecutors subpoena Trump inaugural committee for documents — The subpoena requests documents related to the committee’s donors and spending. The investigation is examining whether some of the committee’s donors gave money in exchange for policy concessions and whether any foreigners illegally donated to the committee.

► From Politico — The plan to keep Trump’s taxes hidden — The Trump administration wants to drag an expected Democratic request for the president’s tax returns into a quagmire of arcane legal arguments.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Don’t worry. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th) is on it.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From Vox — Job growth in January was phenomenal. Wage growth was pathetic. — Employers added 304,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy in January — once again surpassing economic forecasts. But the latest jobs report once again shows little wage growth, which remains the biggest weakness in the American economy. The average U.S. worker hasn’t seen their paycheck get much bigger since the Great Recession, which ended around 2009. In January, private sector workers (excluding farmworkers) got an average 3-cent hourly raise.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Haven’t gotten a decent raise? Get a union! Union members earn more and get better benefits. Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your work. Or contact a union organizer today!

► From NBC News — Thousands of GM workers at soon-to-be closed U.S. plants face ‘a lot of uncertainty’ — “It’s emotionally devastating,” one worker at a Michigan plant said of watching some co-workers leave to transfer to other plants, some as far as Tennessee.

► In the Detroit Free-Press — General Motors threatens to sue union over Super Bowl ad — The war between Canada’s autoworker union (Unifor) and General Motors intensified over the weekend, with the automaker threatening to sue over a union commercial critical of GM set to air in Canada during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

 

► From CBS News — Airline mechanics feel pressured to overlook potential safety problems: “Accident waiting to happen” — Airline mechanics say they feel pressured by management to look the other way when they see potential safety problems on airplanes, an eight-month-long CBS News investigation reveals. In some of the cases, the FAA agreed with those mechanics.

► From NJ.com — $15 minimum wage is now coming to New Jersey! — Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed landmark legislation raising the minimum wage in New Jersey to $15 an hour by 2024. New Jersey is the fourth U.S. state to place its minimum wage on a path to $15.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington’s minimum wage is $12/hour, will rise to $13.50 in 2020, and thereafter be adjusted annually for inflation.

► From HuffPost — Howard Schultz prefers you use another term besides ‘billionaire’ — Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz may be a billionaire, but he doesn’t really like the term. In fact, he prefers “people of means.”

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In today’s NY Times — Tech is splitting the U.S. work force in two — For all its success in drawing and nurturing firms on the technological frontier, Phoenix cannot escape the uncomfortable pattern taking shape across the American economy: Despite all its shiny new high-tech businesses, the vast majority of new jobs are in workaday service industries, like health care, hospitality, retail and building services, where pay is mediocre.

The forecast of an America where robots do all the work while humans live off some yet-to-be-invented welfare program may be a Silicon Valley pipe dream. But automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meager wages and no prospect for advancement. Automation is splitting the American labor force into two worlds. There is a small island of highly educated professionals making good wages at corporations like Intel or Boeing, which reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit per employee. That island sits in the middle of a sea of less educated workers who are stuck at businesses like hotels, restaurants and nursing homes that generate much smaller profits per employee and stay viable primarily by keeping wages low.

 


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

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