Connect with us


‘Weird’ laws, Trumka’s snootful, Hanford safety…



►  At IAM 751’s blog — Machinists union: We’re not out to close Charleston plant — IAM President Tom Wroblewski writes: “We are all Americans. We are proud to build airplanes, working for America’s greatest aerospace company. We want to work hand-in-hand with Boeing, to build on our past successes, like the U.S. Air Force tanker contract award. But we can’t stand idly by while Boeing brazenly claims it can take away the jobs and futures from people who exercise their rights as Americans by standing together to bargain for a better life. Working together, the men and women of Boeing can ensure a prosperous future for themselves, and for their company. But if we allow Boeing and its political allies to divide us with lies and half-truths, nobody wins.

►  In today’s NY Times — Boeing labor battle is poised to go before judge — Barring a last-minute settlement, lawyers for the NLRB will begin arguing before a Seattle judge on Tuesday that Boeing broke the law by building a new, nonunion production line in South Carolina instead of expanding its unionized operations in Washington State.

EDITOR’S NOTE — No, New York Times, that’s not what Boeing did to break the law. They broke the law when they said the decision to expand elsewhere was in response to strikes, a clear effort to punish unionized employees for striking and to intimidate them against any future walkouts.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — NLRB complaint against Boeing needs critical look (editorial) — The NLRB’s complaint takes the weird position that Boeing has a right to put a plant in South Carolina if it keeps its mouth shut, but that if it complains about the history of strikes in Washington, it is being “punitive” and is breaking the law.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Yeah, the law is “weird,” huh? Opening your mouth to threaten your workers is illegal? Weird! Will the corporate shills at The Times think it’s weird when Boeing loses this case in court? After all, the company’s own multimillion dollar attorneys expect to lose. But they plan to spend the next several years resisting efforts to settle the matter and appealing the case through federal courts, until they find one that’s sufficiently ideologically aligned to their interests that it will reinterpret decades of case law and rule against the union. Meanwhile, the NLRB’s proposed remedy of moving the work back to Washington becomes less and less realistic. That’s not weird, that’s the behavior of a giant corporation that believes it is above the law.

►  From AP — Is anti-union talk free speech? — Attorneys argued before a federal judge Monday over whether anti-union statements by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and a top state official discourage workers from organizing or are simply free speech protected by law. Attorneys representing the IAM said elected leaders can have their points of view, but they can’t “declare they are going to use the law in a one-sided fashion to reach a pre-ordained result” of keeping unions out.




►  At Alternet — AFL-CIO’s Trumka calls for labor movement separate from parties: “I’ve had a snootful of this sh*t!” — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent his strongest signal yet about the labor movement’s frustration with the dysfunctional politics of the moment—where Republicans go to extremes on behalf of big banks and multinational corporations, Democrats compromise and working families are left out of the equation. “We want an independent labor movement strong enough to return balance to our economy, fairness to our tax system, security to our families and moral and economic standing to our nation,” declared Trumka. “We can’t simply build the power of any political party or any candidate. For too long we’ve been left after the election holding a canceled check and asking someone to pay attention to us. No more! No more!”

►  From AP — Gregoire won’t seek re-election – opening field to other Democrats — Gov. Chris Gregoire arrived in office six years ago with a vow to spur job growth. She’ll have 18 more months in office focused on reaching that same goal. She said Monday that she will not seek re-election at the end of a tumultuous second term that has forced her to make arduous budget cuts in areas she once sought to expand.

►  At — Obama blows Gregoire kisses – job to follow? — Said President Obama: “As a fierce advocate for American businesses, (Chris Gregoire) continues to work tirelessly to promote American goods, open up new markets and strengthen American businesses abroad.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — What about her advocacy for working people, Mr. President? Is that worth mentioning?

►  From AP — Democrats wrestle with how to settle the Weiner matter — With a defiant Rep. Anthony Weiner resisting calls from colleagues to quit and President Barack Obama saying he’d resign if he had taken photographs of his junk and sent them to young women, House Democrats are wrestling with how to put the embarrassing online sex scandal behind them.

►  At TPM — Shadow Congress: Nearly 200 ex-lawmakers work for lobbying shops — There are now at least 195 former lawmakers cashing in on their public service, according to an updated list compiled by TPM. That’s up from 172 the last time we checked. (Washington has four.)




►  In today’s News Tribune — Give voters alternative to Costco liquor privatization plan (editorial) — Gov. Chris Gregoire is reportedly poised to sign a liquor bill that promises new and sorely needed revenues for the State of Washington. She should sign it in its entirety – ignoring the lobbying offensive mounted by Costco and others who want it stripped of its emergency clause.

►  In today’s News Tribune — Sonntag objects to audit cuts — As Gov. Gregoire prepares to sign the state budget into law Wednesday, State Auditor Brian Sonntag wants her to veto the Legislature’s cut to his performance audits, the voter-created reports that he says have saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

►  At — State’s Medicaid fraud unit faces budget axe — The federal government funds 75% of the state Medicaid fraud unit, but only if the state provides the other 25%. But those state funds were not provided for by the Legislature, so the Attorney General’s office has until July 1 – the beginning of he 2012 fiscal year – to find $700,000 from elsewhere in its budget to keep the unit running, and another $2.6 million for a planned expansion.




►  In today’s Seattle Times — Bosses imperil cleanup at Hanford, agency says — Managers of a $12.2 billion project to stabilize radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation actively prevent workers from raising serious safety concerns — and sometimes punish those who do, a scathing government investigation has found.

►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — Defense safety board blasts DOE, Bechtel — Accusations included burying technical reports that raised safety issues, admonishing an expert whose testimony to the board differed from DOE policy and creating an atmosphere that discouraged workers from raising technical issues that could affect the plant’s safe operation. The report called for Energy Secretary Steven Chu to step in, saying prompt, major improvements are needed and will only be successful and lasting if he champions them.

►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — 148 volunteer for layoffs at CH2M Hill — More than 10% of the planned layoffs at Hanford’s CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. will be accomplished voluntarily. They are part of the 1,350 layoffs planned by Sept. 29. In addition, Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance now says it plans to lay off up to 444 workers this year. It laid off 144 in March and has approval to lay off 300 more by Sept. 29, said spokeswoman Rae Weil.

►  In today’s News Tribune — Foss Hotel plans still in legal limbo — Mark Hollander of Hollander Investments said Monday that the company’s plans to build a 104-room Marriott Residence Inn and a 152-room Hilton Garden Inn could come to fruition by early next year if Hollander wins its latest court battle with the owners of downtown’s Hotel Murano.

►  In today’s News Tribune — Pierce Transit board approves additional transit cuts — Commissioners approved a second round of much-contested service cuts Monday, eliminating 17 fixed-bus routes. Pierce Transit officials have now reduced service by 35%. The first round of cuts went into effect this week. The changes approved Monday will take effect in October.

►  In today’s Columbian — Fire grant, labor talks delay Vancouver budget adoption — FEMA had given the city a June 30 deadline to officially accept a $2.3 million federal grant to hire 13 firefighters and reopen the now-closed Fire Station 6, but the city council had expressed reservations about accepting it until it comes to a contract agreement with its largest firefighter union, IAFF Local 452.




►  At — Cantwell: Keep job training — Washington’s community colleges suffered cuts in the recently passed state budget.  Now, Republicans are threatening deep cuts or elimination of the federal Workforce Investment Act that has supplied money to train nearly 12,000 people in this state during the past year. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) toured a South Seattle Community College green jobs training class on Monday, and spoke in defense of the WIA.

►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — Columbia Basin College plans to cut 29 jobs — Columbia Basin College will cut up to 29 jobs, reduce several positions from full to part time and impose other cuts to make up about $7.6 million in lost state money, he said.

►  At CNN Money — Surging college costs price out middle class — Tuition and fees at public universities  have surged almost 130% over the last 20 years — while middle-class incomes have stagnated. As a result, families are taking on unprecedented levels of debt, downgrading their child’s education from a four-year to a two-year degree, or forgoing a college education entirely.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What middle class?




►  At Politico — Deja vu all over again in Wisconsin — The next round of Mayhem in Madison is about to begin. Wisconsin officials are girding for a replay of the showdown that drew tens of thousands of protesters to the capitol earlier this year, as GOP state lawmakers prepare to make another run at passing Gov. Scott Walker’s elimination of collective bargaining for public employees.

►  At TPM — Wisconsin Republicans to reintroduce anti-union bill in budget negotiations — Wisconsin GOP leaders are gearing up to pass the state’s controversial anti-union law again, after it was struck down in court thanks to the way it was passed. Or to be exact, they are now declaring that could pass it in the state budget process beginning Tuesday — if the state Supreme Court doesn’t rule in their favor and restore the law first.

►  At TPM — Wisconsin GOP’s “fake democrats” to cost taxpayers more than $400K — The Republican strategy of planting fake Democratic candidates in the state Senate recall elections won’t just add some serious time to the process. It’s also going to cost local governments and taxpayers throughout the state over $428,000, in just a partial estimate.




►  In today’s Washington Post — Good for Obama’s Jobs Council, good for America? — Some of the powerful executives who advised President Obama on Monday about how to solve the unemployment problem in the United States are themselves focused overseas for growth. Five of the biggest companies on Obama’s jobs council, General Electric, Citigroup, Intel, Procter & Gamble and DuPont, rely on foreign revenues for a majority of their sales — a shift that’s occurred just in the past several years for most of these firms. U.S. multinational firms reduced their workforce in this country by 2.9 million between 1999 and 2009, according to recent data from the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, they added 2.4 million workers overseas. Corporate profits have largely returned to their levels from before the financial crisis, and executive pay has come roaring back. But income for most workers has been stagnant and the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 9.1%.

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.


CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!