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ILWU rallies, education cuts, VoucherCare…



Daily News photo►  In the (Longview) Daily News —Union longshoremen rally at EGT Development offices in Portland — More than 1,000 union longshoremen and supporters rallied outside the headquarters of grain company EGT Development Friday afternoon, demanding the company hire union labor to operate the grain terminal it is building at the Port of Longview. The protesters traveled from as far away as Los Angeles to support Longview-based International Longshore and Warehouse Local 21, which hopes to staff the $200 million grain elevator when it goes online this fall. “We have been left out of the loop. It’s total union solidarity to stop corporate greed,” said Dan Coffman, president of Local 21.

►  In the (Longview) Daily News — Wauna mill union ratifies contract — Union members at Georgia-Pacific’s Wauna mill ratified a new four-year contract that includes wage increases and requires workers to change health care plans, union officials said Friday. The roughly 900 members of the United Steelworkers Local 1097 will receive a 6% pay increase over four years dating from April 2010, when the previous contract expired.

►  In the Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles’ Nippon the last phone book paper plant in the U.S.? — The 90-year-old mill also makes paper for other print media, including the Peninsula Daily News. It employs about 200 people. The other paper mill on the North Olympic Peninsula — Port Townsend Paper Corp. — manufactures heavier kraft paper.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — India Air inks $4 billion deal to buy Boeing C-17s — The deal to buy 10 C-17 military aircraft requires the aircraft maker to invest 30% of the $4 billion in defense-related industries in India, said an official familiar with the deal.




►  In Sunday’s Bellingham Herald — County schools, colleges mull how to handle state funding cuts — The state budget includes “savings” of $179 million through 1.9% salary reductions for teachers and other school staff and 3% salary reductions for administrative staff. But rather than reducing people’s paychecks, the cut is actually a reduction in the amount of state funding school districts receive, leaving it up to the districts and unions representing employees to renegotiate contracts and determine how to make the cuts.

►  At — Gregoire, Boeing and Microsoft “transform” higher education (Chris Grygiel column) — Those two companies, which employ thousands of well-educated, smart people, have been pressuring Olympia for years to make higher education a priority. But at the same time they’ve been railing against new taxes — they apparently think Olympia can adequately pay for a top notch higher education system on positive thoughts and good cheer. The Daily Beast recently listed Microsoft and Boeing as being among the nation’s top 15 corporate tax dodgers.

►  In today’s Olympian — Gregoire seeks federal Medicaid waiver — Gov. Chris Gregoire is hitting the road to win federal help for some major health care changes she and other governors are seeking. One bill in particular requires the state to seek a federal Medicaid waiver to give the state more flexibility and savings in its management of the state-federal health program for low-income people.




►  In the Spokesman-Review — TAA funding snagged in Congress as opponents question its value — A federal trade-assistance program that helps companies impacted by offshore competition could shut down by the end of the year if Congress votes not to renew it. Dozens of regional firms have used the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act in recent years to help workers find new jobs or train employees to be more competitive. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both support renewal, saying that the program has helped thousands of workers go through retraining in finding new jobs or improving current job skills. But Republicans want to eliminate the program.




►  In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Creating productive jobs is the way out of recession (Jon Talton column) — The housing collapse is a huge drag on an economy already facing slow growth. It is a major component of unemployment. What would help is more infrastructure spending; new incentives for big banks and hedge funds to invest in productive, job-creating and innovative industries; and better job retraining (see preceding above). But none of this is likely to happen. No leaders are pushing for infrastructure spending, citing high federal debt. The big banks like the profitable status quo. As for the rest of us, the policies are lacking to grow the economy, which would most address the debt. So we’re about to find out how far down the mountain the housing crisis can crash, and how much more of the economy it takes with it.

►  In today’s LA Times — Economic “recovery” leaves jobs behind — What’s crippling the job market and chilling recovery on almost every front is a confluence of factors — including labor-saving technology, competition from skilled foreign workers and a debt hangover — that economists and business leaders say are fundamentally reshaping the economic landscape in which Americans live and work.

►  In Sunday’s NY Times — For the jobless, little U.S. help on foreclosure — Programs already plagued by delays and poor participation were not designed to fully address unemployment, now the primary cause of foreclosures.

►  At Huffington Post — Why Washington isn’t doing squat about jobs and wages (Robert Reich column) — Republicans are so intent on unseating Obama they’d like the economy to remain in the dumps through Election Day. Democrats don’t want to admit the recovery has stalled. But there’s a third reason for Washington’s inaction. The unemployed are politically invisible. They don’t make major campaign donations. They don’t lobby Congress. There’s no National Association of Unemployed People.




►  In today’s NY Times — VoucherCare is not Medicare (Paul Krugman column) — In voting for the House budget plan, Republicans voted to end Medicare. Saying that isn’t demagoguery, it’s just pointing out the truth. Medicare is a government-run insurance system that directly pays health-care providers. Vouchercare would cut checks to insurance companies instead. Specifically, the program would pay a fixed amount toward private health insurance. If you couldn’t afford a policy adequate for your needs, even with the voucher, that would be your problem.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Every Republican member of Congress from Washington state supported Rep. Ryan’s plan to cut Medicare and turn it into a voucher program. In fact, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler continues to reiterate her support for it.

►  In today’s Washington Post — Among GOP, anti-tax orthodoxy runs deep — Today’s GOP adheres to a “no new taxes” orthodoxy that has proved far more powerful than the desire to balance the budget. This orthodoxy is now woven so deeply into the party’s identity that all but 13 of 288 GOP lawmakers in Congress have signed a formal pledge not to raise taxes. No Republican has voted for a major federal tax increase since 1991. It is so widespread that more than a dozen governors and hundreds of state legislators now count themselves as adherents. And it is so well defended that its followers are constantly patrolling at both the state and federal levels for new forms of trespass.

►  In The Hill — Many voters expect to be poorer — More than one in three likely voters expect to be worse off when they go to the polls a year from this November, a somber fact for President Obama’s reelection campaign, while just 25% believe they will be better off.

►  In Sunday’s NY Times — Our fantasy nation? (Nicolas Kristof column) — If Republicans seek a country with low taxes, little regulation and traditional family values, I have the perfect place for them. Body armor suggested.


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