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Longview port strife, work safety, Wisconsin votes…



►  In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Port protest leads to trespassing citations for dozens of longshore workers –About 100 union dock workers, including union leaders, were arrested Monday afternoon after they tore down a chain-link gate and protested inside the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview. In one of the boldest labor demonstrations in recent memory, members of the Longview-based International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 stormed the terminal to protest EGT’s use of non-union labor to handle grain in the testing phase of the new $200 million facility.

“By far this is the most intense labor event that I can remember,” said Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson, who stood at the crowd’s center at one point discussing the situation with the union’s leadership. Tensions have been rising between EGT executives and ILWU since contract talks broke down about three months ago. The company’s officials have said they plan to open the terminal this summer with about 50 workers, likely non-union.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing freezes 787 production line in place for 5th time — Boeing has suspended deliveries of 787 Dreamliner airplane sections from its suppliers to the assembly line in Everett and will hold the line in place a month while mechanics catch up on work. A spokesman said the production slowdown won’t affect the first Dreamliner delivery to All Nippon Airways of Japan, now expected in September. But it could mean Boeing won’t be able to meet its delivery target of 12 to 20 Dreamliners this year.

►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — Selective logging makes Tulalip forest better as habitat, timber resource — By thinning out weaker trees, they aimed to free up space for the remaining trees to grow larger. The work also allows more sunlight to reach the ground so that within a year, the formerly brown and sterile forest floor should sprout with green, giving animals a food source that otherwise would not have existed.




►  In today’s Seattle Times — Most violent job in Washington? Nurse’s aide — Seattle public radio station KUOW-FM made that finding as part of an investigative series on workplace safety airing this week. The station found that violence strikes health care workers in Washington at six times the state average, and frontline caregivers in emergency rooms and psychiatric wards get assaulted even more than that. The single most violent workplace in the state is at Western State Hospital, where criminal defendants are taken when they are found incompetent to stand trial. Workers at psychiatric hospitals are assaulted on the job more often than anybody else – 60 times more than the average worker in Washington state.

►  All week long, John Ryan KUOW 94.9 FM has been running an excellent series of reports called “Danger at Work.” Here are links to the audio clips:

WEDNESDAY — Violence in the ER — Most of us face little risk of being assaulted while we’re on the job. But if you’re a cop, a convenience store clerk or a cab driver, your line of work can quickly turn violent. The same is true for people working in hospitals and nursing homes.

TUESDAY — Workplace safety inspections miss their target — By law, all employers have to provide a safe workplace. Even so, someone dies on the job in Washington state about every four days. Somebody reports being injured at work every few hours. Many more injuries go unreported. A KUOW investigation has found that workplace safety laws are rarely enforced. When state officials do try to enforce the law, they often look for workplace hazards in the wrong places.

MONDAY — Lineworkers bring power to the people, without a net — Three years ago, federal officials called it the most dangerous job in America. The number of people killed while climbing cell phone towers has declined since then, but working on steel towers remains one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs, right up there with commercial fishing. What’s it like to work a hundred feet in the air without a net?




►  Today from AP — Obama, Republicans trapped by inflexible rhetoric — Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell dismisses the cuts the Obama administration and Democrats have proposed as gimmicks. His comments underscored the seemingly inflexible bargaining positions that have created an impasse between Obama and GOP lawmakers as they struggle for agreement on budget cuts as the price for maintaining the government’s ability to borrow.

►  Saving The Stand the trouble of inserting an “Editor’s Note” after that last link, in today’s Washington Post — Don’t blame “both sides” for debt impasse (Eugene Robinson column) — Washington has many lazy habits, and one of the worst is a reflexive tendency to see equivalence where none exists. Hence the nonsense, being peddled by politicians and commentators who should know better, that “both sides” are equally at fault in the deadlocked talks over the debt ceiling. This is patently false. The truth is that Democrats have made clear they are open to a compromise deal on budget cuts and revenue increases. Republicans have made clear they are not.

►  In today’s NY Times — Ideology trumps economics (editorial) — Republicans are far more committed to the ideological goals of cutting government and taxes than they are committed to cutting the deficit. They rejected several compromise offers by the White House, even though any revenue increases would be far outweighed by spending cuts. Americans need to hear the hard economic truth that there is no way to both cut the deficit and revive the economy without finding additional sources of revenue. As the president himself said on Monday, “If not now, when?”

►  At — Unions turning on Obama in debt battle — Labor unions are riled about President Barack Obama’s readiness to discuss Social Security cuts in debt talks, further eroding his standing among labor and raising the prospect that they will punish him at the polls in 2012.

►  At Huffington Post — Obama reportedly offered to raise Medicare eligibility age as part of compromise — According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.

►  In today’s NY Times — Obama grasping at centrist banner in debt talks

EDITOR’S NOTE — Wait. Offering to cut Social Security and Medicare is now “centrist”?!




►  At — Tax receipts slip another $22 million; state still in black — The two-year budget is $31.7 billion. Overall that revenue drop isn¡¦t a big change and leaves the state still in the black for the rest of the two-year budget cycle that began July 1.

►  In today’s Olympian — Film incentive program not a priority in times of tight budgets (editorial) — We agree with lawmakers that at a time when UW tuition is going up 20% a year, when hundreds of state employees will lose their jobs, when the elderly and infirm will lose vital state services and classroom teachers will be expected to do more with less, it was impossible to justify incentives for the film industry.

►  At — Gregoire names new chief of staff — She has named her director of external affairs and senior counsel Marty Loesch as chief of staff for her final 18 months in office.




►  In today’s NY Times — It’s a season of recalls for voters in Wisconsin — Today, residents in some parts of the state will vote in primary elections that are part of the broadest recall effort in state history. The outcome, to be determined in votes this month and next, will decide whether Republicans, who last fall took control of the governor’s seat and of both chambers of the Legislature, maintain their hold on the State Senate. Those who have gathered thousands of signatures to remove six Republicans object to the lawmakers’ support of a law that strips away collective bargaining rights for public workers and say these senators have, more broadly, supported a series of conservative, budget-cutting policies pushed through by Gov. Scott Walker.

►  At — Romney raises big bucks in Medina — Romney came to the Medina home of venture capitalist and former Microsoft CFO John Conners.  The pricetag is $2,500 for a VIP reception and photo session at 5 p.m., $1,000 for a reception held a half-hour later. In his 2008 presidential bid and so far in 2012, Romney has never spoken to a Republican Party event or held a meet and greet with the GOP faithful.  As well, he has never met with the local press. Only fundraisers with wealthy donors.




►  In today’s NY Times — AFT’s Weingarten faults teacher reform from ‘on high’ — Amid one of the most contentious periods in recent memory for teachers’ unions, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, on Monday called for education reform that emanates from teachers and their communities, rather than from “those who blame teachers for everything.”

►  In today’s NY Times — With Sonic, GM and UAW reinvent automaking — The only subcompact car being built on American soil will soon roll out of an assembly plant here in suburban Detroit that is as unusual as the car itself. The production line has been squeezed into half the space of a traditional plant. Welding robots are concentrated in efficient clusters, instead of being spaced along the line, while many of the workers earn half the typical union wage.

►  In today’s NY Times — White House rolls out standards for health insurance marketplace — In a big step to carry out the new health care law, the Obama administration unveiled standards on Monday for insurance marketplaces that will allow individuals, families and small businesses in every state to shop for insurance, compare prices and benefits and buy coverage.

►  In today’s LA Times — CalPERS adds $12 billion to California economy, study says — The California Public Employees’ Retirement System pumped nearly $12 billion into the state’s economy last year through benefits paid to retirees and other beneficiaries, making it “a significant economic engine in most California communities,” a new study says.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The same is true of Washington’s pension system, which some legislators insist as treating as a simple liability on a balance sheet.


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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