The Stand

Aerospace jobs; May Day march; tax loopholes…

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AEROSPACE NEWS:


►  In the PS Business Journal — Washington state unions making pitch in Paris — Washington’s top two aerospace unions plan to take part for the first time in the biennial Paris Air Show in June, in a heightened effort to cast organized labor as the industry’s partner rather than a threat. “We’re the people who solve problems. We’re high productivity, and we lower your risk,” said Stan Sorscher, legislative director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

►  From Reuters — Boeing workers prepare to fight for work on next 737 — Boeing is still evaluating the needs of its customers, its capability to update the airplane and the costs involved. It has said it may build the next line outside of Washington’s Puget Sound area, where the city of Renton been been home to the primary 737 assembly plant for more than 40 years. There is a lot at stake for the tens of thousands of workers who crank out 737s at a rate of 31.5 a month.

►  In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — NLRB action hardly helpful (editorial) — The NLRB’s action against Boeing, and the Machinists’ accompanying tone, threaten to set back the company-union relationship just as both sides are preparing for next year’s talks on a new contract.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently, The Herald would prefer that the federal government ignore what looks like a clear violation of the law and that the Machinists union accept, cap in hand, retaliation for exercising their right to strike. The Herald should be embarrassed to accuse the union of “playing hardball” because it dares point out that the company is breaking the law (and the feds agree). If Boeing thought the union was breaking the law and filed a complaint, would The Herald call out Boeing for harming labor-management relations? Not bloody likely. For a serious analysis of the legal implications of the NLRB’s actions, check out this column by Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post.

 


 

LOCAL NEWS:


►  At KOMOnews.com — Thousands of marchers seek citizenship path for immigrants — Thousands of marchers wound through the streets of Seattle on Sunday calling for workers’ rights and immigration reform. Participants were factory workers, truck drivers, farm hands and hotel clerks, and May Day was their day to come together to celebrate workers around the world. (Read about other May Day marches around the country at AFL-CIO Now.)

►  At Publicola — To show solidarity, nonunion Seattle restaurants announce discounts for union workers — Cognitive dissonance alert: A group of local restaurant and nightclub owners have announced that they’ll be offering a 15% discount to all union members throughout the month of May. In a press release, they call union members “the backbone of the middle class,” without which “businesses could not survive.” What they didn’t mention was that none of the restaurants and nightclubs on the list are unionized. Non-union restaurant workers, in other words, will be providing discounted food and services to unionized workers who make more and have better benefits than they do.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One commenter online points out that some of the restaurant owners involved are actively campaigning against a proposal to require Seattle employers to offer paid sick leave. She says, “Take the discount and then hand it back to the crew so they can afford to stay home and not spread the flu when they are sick.”

 


 

LEGISLATIVE NEWS:


►  In Sunday’s Olympian — Close tax loopholes? — Senate Democrats will hold a hearing Wednesday on a handful of tax-related measures – including one to reconsider a piece of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 that requires a two-thirds vote to cut tax “loopholes.” Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has sponsored SB 5944, allowing voter to reconsider specifically whether a two-thirds majority vote should be required to close corporate tax breaks. The Association of Washington Business, which helped pass I-1053, is strongly opposed.

►  In Saturday’s Olympian — In Centralia, Gregoire signs bill ending TransAlta’s coal use by 2025 — TransAlta CEO Steve Snyder said the company hasn’t finalized plans for what it will do when it has to stop burning coal, but it may build a natural gas plant in the area. He said he didn’t expect many jobs to be lost at the plant, which employs about 300 people and pays an average wage over $80,000. Other weren’t so sure about that, including union representative Byron Babka who attended the governor’s bill signing ceremony.

►  In Sunday’s News Tribune — Teachers brace for salary cuts — Legislators are looking at freezing or reducing the money given to local school districts to pay teachers. A Senate proposal calls for a 3% pay cut. Lawmakers may also cut the bonuses teachers receive for completing National Board Certification.

►  In Sunday’s Spokesman-Review — Health exchanges draw praise ridicule — As with many things linked to the Affordable Care Act, the exchange is controversial, untested, and the financial risks unknown, acknowledge supporters and detractors alike.

►  In Sunday’s Olympian — Welfare debate ending? — Separately from the main budget debate in Olympia, Gov. Chris Gregoire and lawmakers have been tackling a huge shortfall in the welfare-to-work budget, forcing them to reduce $2 billion in planned spending by roughly one-fifth.

►  From AP — Eyman’s new initiative: Make lawmakers set tolls

 


NATIONAL NEWS:


►  In the Washington Post — How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt –In January 2001, with the budget balanced and massive surpluses forecast, political leaders chose to cut taxes, jack up spending and, for the first time in U.S. history, wage two wars solely with borrowed funds. Now, instead of tending a nest egg of more than $2 trillion, the federal government expects to owe more than $10 trillion to outside investors by the end of this year. The national debt is larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any time in U.S. history except for the period shortly after World War II.

►  In today’s NY Times — Republican proposal for Medicare is unlike federal employee plan — House Republicans say their budget proposal would make Medicare work just like the health insurance that covers federal employees, including members of Congress. But a close examination shows the two plans are very different, and the differences help explain why the Republican plan has set off a political uproar. (Also see The Stand’s report: RepubliCare not even close to Congress’ health plan.)

►  In today’s NY Times — Standing up for guest workers (editorial) — Slavery and human trafficking are alive and well in the United States, according to lawsuits filed by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of farm laborers in Hawaii and Washington State and shipyard workers on the Gulf Coast. (The editorial refers to the EEOC’s filing of its largest-ever human tracking lawsuit against Global Horizons and eight farms, including two in Washington, that used GH to import Thai farmworkers.)

►  In today’s NY Times — Springtime for bankers (Paul Krugman column) — More and bigger crises; more and bigger bailouts; more and bigger deficits. If you like that prospect, you should love what the Republicans are doing to financial reform.

 


 

The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. Make this electronic “clip service” your first stop of the morning to get O.P.P. news and opinion. (Other People’s Press.) These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.


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