The Stand

McKenna promises McGovernment, NLRB politics…

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POLITICAL NEWS:

 

►  From AP — McKenna officially announces campaign to become first GOP governor since 1985 — Attorney General Rob McKenna formally entered Washington’s campaign for governor Wednesday, declaring that Olympia is long overdue for change and that he’s the candidate to bring a renewed focus on fiscal discipline. He believes state workers can be more efficient and that departments need to shrink their personnel through attrition. “Fewer people doing more work — that’s the answer,” McKenna said. He also said he wants to change Washington’s collective bargaining laws so the Legislature has more oversight of state employee contracts. As one area to focus on, McKenna said state employees should pay more for their health benefits.

EDITOR’S NOTE — State employees’ share of health premiums were just increased more than 25% this year. State employees, who have also suffered pay cuts and layoffs as a result of the national recession, will now pay 15% of premiums and other higher out-of-pocket health costs. Apparently, McKenna’s priority is to demonize public employees as the cause of our budget problems and demand even more sacrifices from teachers, fire fighters, nurses, corrections officers, home care workers and everyone else who provides state services. No mention of asking giant corporations that are making record profits to make any sacrifices, such as suspending some of their tax preferences.

Compare/contrast McKenna’s dismissal of state employees’ with this editorial calling on Olympia residents to volunteer at community kitchens, hospitals and area charities after their community took its disproportionate brunt of the state budget ax.

►  In today’s Olympian — All of us need to help fill holes in state’s safety net (editorial) — The cold, hard reality is that the 2011-13 budget calls for the elimination of 4,000 public sector jobs – state workers, K-12 teachers, college and university faculty and staff. That’s on top of the 6,000 teachers and 12,000 public employees the state has already sent to the unemployment office under previous budget cuts. And most of those public employees who still have their jobs will see a 3% reduction in their salary – a monthly loss of pay of $139 for the average state employee. While losing pay, employees will be forced to pay more for their medical/dental insurance premium and a larger portion of their pension costs.

►  At SeattleTimes.com — Labor leader: McKenna a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” — Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, said that while state Attorney General Rob McKenna’s entry into the race was expected, “it’s certainly not particularly welcome in the labor community. … Many of our leaders see him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

►  At SeattlePI.com — Will McKenna’s anti-gay past come back to haunt him? — McKenna told reporters in 2004 that marriage equality for gays and lesbians could result in polygamy and incest. He said, “It threatens to destroy all standards we apply to the right of marriage.” That was 2004, in 2011 the evidence is clearly in. Massachusetts has not fallen into a hellish society overcome by incest. Neither has Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Iceland, or the Netherlands — all of which recognize gay and lesbian marriage.

 


STATE GOVERNMENT NEWS:

 

►  At Crosscut — Legislature’s workers’ comp reforms were wise policy (Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles column) — We had a problem to solve and a political reality that would not go away, including gaining sufficient votes for the operating budget which was being tied to passage of a workers’ comp reform bill. As such, we worked in good faith with the governor to find a fiscally-responsible solution and one that will keep our system solvent and protecting of workers and their families for years to come.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The good senator’s candor that politics were at play in cutting more than $1 billion from the workers’ compensation system is appreciated. But it begs the question, who exactly said they wouldn’t vote for the budget unless they got workers’ comp cuts first? That may be the type of legislative hostage-taking and vote-trading that goes on every day in Olympia. But some of us naive, idealistic voters out here would love to know, in a session dominated by a $5 billion revenue shortfall and another all-cuts budget, which of our elected officials were willing to trade their votes on that budget for a business-pushed billion-dollar cut in injured workers’ safety net?

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Quick budget fixes may only postpone pain for state — The Legislature suspended two voter-approved initiatives to boost teacher pay and reduce class sizes. It also suspended training for long-term-care workers, and certain financial-aid programs for college students, among other expenses. Pay cuts for state workers were temporary as well. All told, more than $1.4 billion in spending was deferred. Add it together and roughly 40% of the shortfall was closed with essentially one-time fixes.

►  At ChildrensAlliance.org — Children’s Alliance honors advocates for children’s issues — Honorees included a Racial Equity Team that “worked every day of the 2011 legislative session to ensure that policymakers understand the enormous impact of their decisions on families of color and their children.” Its core members included Teresa Mosqueda of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Sofia Aragon of the Washington State Nurses Association; Bernal Baca of AFT Washington, AFL-CIO; and Heather Villanueva of SEIU 775.

 


LOCAL NEWS:

 

►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford contractor to pay $100,000 for safety problems — The Hanford tank farm contractor will pay the federal government $100,000 after reaching a settlement with the Department of Energy on radiological safety issues. Washington River Protection Solutions signed a consent order with the DOE Office of Health Safety and Security’s Office of Enforcement and Oversight after the office investigated issues.

►  In today’s Spokesman-Review — 100 Spokane teachers receiving recall notices — School officials continue to consider how to make up a $6.3 million budget deficit for 2011-’12, but have decided to maintain elementary class sizes, leaving fewer employees wondering if they need to look for a new job. Of the 238 employees who received pink slips in early May, 85 remain on the recall list.

►  In today’s Kitsap Sun — Bremerton firefighters’ opposition to merger deal could kill proposal — An “overwhelming” lack of support from the Bremerton Firefighters Union could spell the end of efforts to merge the Bremerton Fire Department and South Kitsap Fire and Rescue.

►  In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Peninsula Plywood furloughs 50 workers — Peninsula Plywood furloughed 50 workers Tuesday, the same day the Port Angeles City Council agreed to seek a large grant to keep the mill open.

 


BOEING NEWS:

 

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s South Carolina move gets even more political — The dispute over whether Boeing built an assembly plant in South Carolina in retaliation against its strike-prone Machinists union turned increasingly partisan Wednesday, when a Republican-controlled House committee announced it would hold a hearing to investigate whether federal regulators were forcing workers into unions. Connie Kelliher, spokeswoman for International Association of Machinists Local 751 in Seattle, accused congressional Republicans of political interference. “Boeing and its supporters are trying to make this a political issue because they do not have a legal case,” Kelliher said. “Boeing broke the law and Boeing is not above the law.”

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — Governor announces push to land 737 replacement — Boeing has yet to launch an all-new replacement aircraft for the 737. The jet maker also has not announced criteria for a production site competition. But Boeing is expected to make a decision on the Renton-built jet’s future this year. On Wednesday, Gregoire appointed lawyer Tayloe Washburn to lead the state’s efforts in securing Boeing’s next jet production line. The governor also will call on labor, aerospace companies and community leaders to prepare for the next jet contest. She envisions a continuation of the state’s efforts to help Boeing land the U.S. Air Force tanker contract earlier this year.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Attorney to be Gregoire’s key adviser in wooing Boeing — Gregoire said the state improved its chances of landing the assembly site by addressing several of Boeing’s concerns in the last legislative session when lawmakers passed bills reforming unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — New life at Boeing for an old factory floor — Across Marginal Way from Boeing Field, the old plant known as the Thompson site has been reborn. In the 1960s, the first few 737 airliners were built there. Now mechanics are installing military systems on the fifth and sixth U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine jets.

 


NATIONAL NEWS:

 

►  In The Hill — AFL-CIO urges recess appointment for Warren — The AFL-CIO is calling for a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “No matter who gets the recess appointment of President Obama, Republicans have made it clear they’ll scream and holler. This reflects a sorry state in our politics — but it’s also a historic opportunity to recess appoint Elizabeth Warren, who’s already shown as acting director of the CFPB that she’s a true champion for working families,” AFL-CIO Richard Trumka writes.

►  In The Hill — Trumka speaks to U.S. Chamber’s board of directors — The two groups are often at each other’s throats on several other issues, especially on labor laws and regulations. But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that America’s infrastructure has reached a crisis point and both business and labor need to work together to spark the rebuilding effort.

►  In today’s NY Times — Economy’s woes shift focus of budget talks — Recent signs that the economic recovery is flagging have introduced a new tension into the bipartisan budget negotiations, giving rise to calls especially from liberals to limit the size of immediate spending cuts or even to provide an additional fiscal stimulus.

►  In today’s Washington Post — Legal battle over health reform moves to Atlanta courtroom — The case before the U.S. Court of Appeals could offer the armada of Republican state leaders who have taken on the law their best chance of a win during stage two of a multi-pronged, protracted legal battle widely expected to end in the Supreme Court.

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — Median pay for CEOs rose 18% in 2010 (brief) — Total realized compensation, which includes stock awards, jumped a median 28%. For 2010, the CEOs in the S&P 500 had a median compensation of nearly $8.49 million and an average compensation of more than $11.95 million.

►  In today’s LA Times — Strike looms for supermarkets in Southern California — Representatives of 62,000 unionized grocery store workers said that they could be close to going out on strike against Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons supermarkets. Rick Icaza, president of UFCW Local 770, said the two sides were primarily battling over health coverage.

►  In The Hill — Choose voters over donors on free trade (column by Univ. of Oregon professor Gordon Lafer) — The majority of Americans opposes NAFTA-style treaties. It’s not just union members; only 27% of Republicans think “free trade” helps us. And no wonder: We’ve lost almost 5 million jobs since NAFTA was passed — many of them well-paying manufacturing jobs that were the backbone of the middle class. The minority that supports the NAFTA model, however, includes the country’s most powerful corporate lobbies. The strongest advocates of “free trade” are the Chamber of Commerce and multinational corporations such as GE, which sent tens of thousands of jobs overseas and built a profitable business helping others do likewise.

 


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 each morning! These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.


 

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