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Tri-Cities strike prep, Seattle sick leave, connecting the economic dots…



►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — Tri-Cities Community Health workers ready to go on strike — Workers at Tri-Cities Community Health in Pasco are poised to strike after a year and a half of fruitless negotiations to replace a contract that expired in March 2010. Members of Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 8, which represents more than 100 employees of the clinic formerly known as Community Health Center La Clinica, voted unanimously Monday to reject a proposal from the clinic’s management.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Schools’ dilemma: Workers don’t have to accept pay cuts that Legislature passed — Will teachers, principals and other Seattle school staff accept $4 million in pay cuts that were approved in Olympia? They don’t have to. Under their union contracts, employees aren’t required to give up a cent in salary, no matter what state lawmakers voted. But administrators are asking them to do so, hoping to avoid cutting $4 million from other areas.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Plan would require Seattle firms to provide paid sick leave — All businesses in Seattle would be required to provide their workers with paid sick days, according to a proposal by City Councilmember Nick Licata. The legislation — to be discussed at a council committee meeting Wednesday — calls for a sliding scale, with smaller businesses obligated to set aside less time and larger companies required to set aside more. Several prominent small-business owners, such as Cupcake Royale’s Jody Hall and The 5 Point Cafe’s David Meinert, said they were initially skeptical of a paid sick-leave mandate, but not anymore. Business, labor and community leaders met for weeks to propose changes to Licata’s original plan that would make it more amenable to small-business owners.

EDITOR’S NOTE — See The Stand’s May 9 posting: Paid sick leave sought for workers in Seattle.

►  Today’s county unemployment news — Clark (9.8%▼), Cowlitz (11.7%▼), King (7.9%▼), Kitsap (7.9%▲), Pierce (9.8%▲), Snohomish (9.2%▼), Skagit (10%▲), Spokane (9.0%▲), Thurston (8.3%▲), Tri-Cities (7.4%▲), Whatcom (8.4%▲), Yakima (10.3%▲)

►  In today’s Spokesman-Review — Buy (and build) American (letter) — The American people must shop for and buy “Made in America” products to keep their jobs and to expand the American work force.




►  At AFL-CIO Now — Unions use Paris Air Show to spotlight high-skilled Washington aerospace workforce — A video—produced by Kathy Cummings, Washington State Labor Council  communications director—is showing at the Washington State Pavilion at the Le Bourget Airport in Paris. In it union workers talk about the pride they take in producing the world’s best airliners, the skill and education level of the workers not just at Boeing, but throughout the states’ aerospace workforce that numbers about 84,000 people at 650 companies.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch the video here at The Stand.

►  In the (Everett) Herald — Next year, the world comes to Washington for aerospace conference — The Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit, which will is scheduled for March 12 to 15 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, is expected to draw 600 companies and 1,200 individuals from around the world.

►  In today’s Spokesman-Review — Complaint is wrong way to keep Boeing (editorial) — The Machinists’ retention strategy is counterproductive. Trying to fence Boeing in will fence other companies out. The union makes its best argument for keeping Boeing in the Northwest at its plants, where the talent of its members has underscored the folly of a company outsourcing strategy that has contributed to a two-year delay in 787 deliveries. Now that Gregoire has forsaken a third term, she can afford to make that point – forcefully – to (IAM 751 President Tom) Wroblewski.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Machinists union filed the complaint — and the NLRB agreed it has merit and is pursuing it in court — NOT as a “retention strategy” to force Boeing to stay in Washington, but to protect their members’ right to strike. The NLRB, not the Machinists, proposed the remedy of forcing Boeing to shift S.C. production back here. As was pointed out yesterday in The Hill, it wouldn’t matter if Boeing had moved production to the anti-union South or to the Transformer-infested moon, is issue is: Did Boeing break the law?

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — NLRB asks judge to deny Boeing’s request to dismiss charges — On the first day of the hearings, Boeing’s attorneys asked the administrative law judge to dismiss the case. On Tuesday, the labor board’s attorneys called Boeing’s motion “woefully premature.”

►  From Reuters — Boeing rights a wrong: the flight-attendant button — Usually located next to the reading light button and often indistinguishable from it, the dreaded button causes flight attendants to make countless pointless trips down the aisles every day. Not for much longer. The new interior design for Boeing’s 737 passenger jet, includes an innovation that is as radical as it is obvious: a flight attendant button that is situated well away from the reading light button and actually looks different from it. “I feel we came up with a really good improvement,” Beverly Wyse, Boeing’s General Manager for the 737 program, told reporters at the Paris Air Show.




►  At TPM — Growing chorus of Republicans demand Social Security cuts in deficit deal — Add Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to the list of Republican lawmakers unsatisfied with the party’s reluctance to back Social Security cuts. She’s releasing legislation that would raise the retirement age gradually to 69 and reduce benefits by trillions over the next several decades by pegging the annual cost-of-living- adjustment to 1% below inflation every year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Also see ARA asks: Just where does AARP stand on Social Security? (The AARP set off a firestorm when its policy chief suggested last week that the seniors’ group was dropping its long-standing opposition to cutting Social Security benefits.) And don’t forget to TAKE ACTION!™ and click here to send a message to your representatives in Congress and tell them that AARP doesn’t speak for you on the issue of Social Security!




►  In The Hill — Colombia trade deal doesn’t pass smell test (column) — Thanks to a multimillion dollar lobbying campaign by the Chamber of Commerce and the Colombian Government, many in Congress erroneously believe that the human rights and labor rights situations in Colombia are improving. The truth is that just in the past decade, 30,000 innocent civilians have died in the country’s bloody civil war. Another 3.3 million have been violently driven out of their homes and off of their land. The U.S.-backed Colombian state security forces themselves have been implicated in thousands of murders in recent years. And again in 2010, more trade unionists were killed in Colombia for their union activities than in the rest of the world combined.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday was Call Rep. Jim McDermott Day on this issue, but if you didn’t make the call… TAKE ACTION!™ TODAY is Call-In Jim Day 2.




►  At TPM — With economy faltering, Dems seize on GOP about-face on payroll tax cut for business — Democrats are increasingly concerned that Republicans are setting them up to endorse large spending cuts in a deal to raise the national debt limit without giving ground on anything — even GOP-friendly policy measures like tax cuts for business owners — to stimulate the economy in the near-term. The concern arises as numerous top Republicans react coldly to the prospect of temporarily reducing the payroll tax burden.

EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s right. Democrats want to cut business taxes even more because they are convinced it will create jobs (it won’t) and Republicans (for once) oppose it, ostensibly to make sure the economy still sucks for the 2012 election. As we previously reported, the Obama administration is floating the idea of a Social Security payroll “tax holiday” to stimulate the economy, but also eliminating billions of dollars for the Social Security program. TAKE ACTION!™ and tell the Obama administration to drop this horrible idea.




►  In the Minneapolis S-T — Unions will find retail no easy target — From the moment the election was set to determine whether a Target store would be unionized for the first time, the company got very tough, very fast. The retail giant hired Jackson Lewis, one of the country’s fiercest “union avoidance” law firms, to help keep Target’s 1,755-store chain union-free. Using blunt language on the motives and effectiveness of the organizing union at mandatory meetings, the company seized on the uncertainty about pay and hours – the very issues that sparked the union effort – to raise doubts in workers’ minds.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Also see the leaked anti-union video used by Target.

►  In today’s NY Times — Cost of wars a rising issue as Obama weighs troop levels — President Obama will talk about troop numbers in Afghanistan when he makes a prime-time speech from the White House on Wednesday night. But behind his words will be an acute awareness of what $1.3 trillion in spending on two wars in the past decade has meant at home: a ballooning budget deficit and a soaring national debt at a time when the economy is still struggling to get back on its feet.

►  In today’s NY Times — Public unions take on boss to win big pensions — For years, public employee unions have used their influence to push for improved worker pay and benefits. They have exercised power beyond their numbers by donating money to lawmakers, burnishing candidates’ credentials with endorsements and supplying volunteers during elections. But now, with the expenses of state and local governments’ past promises are coming due and the money isn’t there.

►  From AP — USPS suspends pension contributions — The financially troubled Postal Service is suspending its employer contribution to the Federal Employee Retirement System.

►  From AP — NFL owners, players to meet again — The next time NFL owners meet over labor, there is hope it will be to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with the players. Don’t get carried away thinking a deal is imminent. Optimism is in the air, for sure. That doesn’t mean the end of the lockout is at hand.

►  In today’s NY Times — Wal-Mart’s authoritarian culture (column) — The underlying issue, which the Supreme Court has now ratified, is Wal-Mart’s authoritarian style, by which executives pressure store-level management to squeeze more and more from millions of clerks, stockers and lower-tier managers. Indeed, the sex discrimination at Wal-Mart that drove the recent suit is the product not merely of managerial bias and prejudice, but also of a corporate culture and business model that sustains it, rooted in the company’s very beginnings.

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — Fat times for the fattest cats (editorial) — What aspect of the American economy continues to grow? The income disparity… No one wants to deny top executives their just rewards. But no single executive is worth more than the company’s actual workforce. Sharing the pie is good for business, fairness and human dignity.

►  And finally, Robert Reich connects the dots on what’s wrong with the U.S. Economy… in 2 minutes and 15 seconds:


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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