E.G.T.: PITTING LABOR VS. LABOR
► In today’s Daily News — Oregon labor group condemns IUOE taking jobs at EGT terminal — One of Oregon’s largest labor groups has demanded union operating engineers stop taking the jobs of ILWU union dock workers at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview. In a resolution approved Friday morning, the Oregon AFL-CIO executive board voted to “condemn in the strongest way possible the scab labor actions” of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701, based in Gladstone, Ore.
IUOE 701 Business Manager Mark Holliday, who is Oregon AFL-CIO board member but did not attend Friday’s vote, said the resolution was pushed by a “rogue” group within the executive board and won’t affect work at the terminal. “Local 701 members are not scabs. Local 701 operators are working at the facility for General Construction, with whom we’ve had a relationship for over 90 years,” he said. “The ILWU is embroiled in a highly inflammatory, emotionally charged dispute with EGT, and has misrepresented the issue to the AFL-CIO.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — A similar resolution is expected to be introduced at this week’s Washington State Labor Council Convention. At a recent gathering of ILWU supporters in Longview, WSLC President Jeff Johnson said, ““EGT, a Japanese multinational corporation that has received tax breaks from our state to build this grain elevator, has thumbed its nose at the members of ILWU Local 21 and is trying to pit workers against workers, local unions against local unions. This is unacceptable. The work at the Port of Longview is longshore work and we need to come together as community and labor and say ‘no’ to EGT — ‘you will not disrespect labor in Longview or anywhere else in our state’.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Pay attention to Boeing’s warning about future 737 jobs (editorial) –We hope the Machinists leadership has learned from its mistake in losing the second 787 line. The Machinists cannot keep Boeing here with strikes. In the long run, it cannot do it by enlisting the Labor Board.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Where to begin? To start with, this highly offensive editorial blames “union leaders” for past strikes, not the members who voted to do so, nor Boeing itself. It essentially confirms the NLRB’s case against Boeing by arguing that the company chose South Carolina in retaliation for strikes, a legally protected worker right. It suggests that bargaining away the right to strike (as Boeing demanded) goes against union leader’s “upbringing,” as if withholding your labor is an old-fashioned, antiquated concept as opposed to a the only recourse some workers have to get fair pay and benefits.
Is it any wonder that the Chicago-based executives of the highly-profitable Boeing Company feels so comfortable disrespecting their workforce in Washington while shamelessly demanding more and more public subsidies every time they make a production decision? Who will ever call them on it? Certainly not the corporate sycophants at The Seattle Times, who instantly echo their every demand, while piling on the blame and criticism of their readers, the people who make Boeing profitable.
► In The Hill — Law professors: Rep. Issa should not subpoena NLRB-Boeing documents — Thirty-four law professors signed a letter to the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, saying he should let the case proceed with requesting documents from the NLRB. “As national legal and labor policy experts, we are gravely concerned by the undue pressure that this letter, and its threats to compel disclosure of privileged documents, have placed on an independent law enforcement agency,” the group said of a letter Issa wrote to the NLRB on July 12.
CAREENING TOWARD THE CLIFF
► In today’s NY Times — Obama, congressional leaders reach deal — President Obama and Congressional leaders of both parties said late Sunday that they had agreed to a framework for a budget deal that would cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and clear the way for an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.
► In today’s NY Times — From spending to cuts, while economy stalls — The nation’s political leaders agreed on Sunday to spend and invest less money in the American economy, a step that economists said risks the reversal of a faltering recovery, in the hope of improving the nation’s long-term prosperity.
► At TPM, all you need to know to confirm how bad it is — Grover Norquist backs the new debt deal
► In today’s NY Times — The president surrenders (Paul Krugman column) — A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling is in the works. If it goes through, many commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong. For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.
► And speaking of GOP hostage-taking and extortion, in the Washington Post — The GOP’s effort to take away FAA workers’ voices (Richard Trumka letter) — The FAA is grounded because House Republicans refused to pass a routine measure to reauthorize the agency. House Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.) has said outright that the rural aviation subsidy issue is “just a tool to try to motivate some action” against the rights of workers to participate in a fair election for a union. This dispute is about the House Republicans’ willingness to hold our government hostage to silence workers’ voices.
► At TheOlympian.com — Rep. Herrera Beutler votes for Boehner plan — Freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler sided again with her leadership on Friday on a debt limit vote. She vote yes on Speaker John Boehner’s proposal that narrowly passed by a 218-210 margin despite full opposition by Democrats. Washington’s delegation broke along strict party lines, and the measure was immediately tabled in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers cut state workers’ pay; few cut own pay — Lawmakers cut most state workers’ by 3% this year, but few have taken pay cuts of their own despite crafting legal language encouraging themselves and statewide elected officials to do so. Four House members – out of 147 Senate and House lawmakers – have elected to cut their pay. “You know, not everyone can afford to take a pay cut. I’m just really glad that I can,” said Rep. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), who works as a public-affairs consultant and cut her $42,106 salary by 3%. The three other lawmakers cutting their pay are Democratic Reps. Frank Chopp, Larry Seaquist and Troy Kelley; each is taking a cut of 5% or more. Chopp, as House speaker, earns $50,106.
► In Sunday’s Olympian — Pay cuts benefit charity — The Legislature eventually passed a law that allows the nine statewide elected officials to cut their pay voluntarily by simply filling out a form, but more than half the state’s top elected officials didn’t take a voluntary pay cut. They opted instead to give 3% of their pay to a charity of their choice. “I can’t criticize them for doing that,” said WFSE’s Tim Welch, because many charities are also hit hard by the economy and state budget cuts. “It is going to a good cause. But they have a choice our members don’t have.”
► In the Spokesman-Review — School administrators’ compensation varies — School administrator pay is not capped or regulated in Washington and it’s not consistent by student population or region, according to an analysis of statewide compensation records obtained by The Spokesman-Review. Compensation for 21 of the state’s public school administrators exceeded that of the governor – $199,038 – in 2010, while 41 top school officials made more than the state’s K-12 superintendent, Randy Dorn. His total compensation was $146,751.
► In today’s News Tribune — Farmers fear Congress might crack down on illegal labor — Like throngs of other farmers nationwide who rely on illegal labor to harvest their crops, Steve Sakuma of Burlington fears that Congress doesn’t understand the complexities of his operations. He said he’d promptly go out of business if lawmakers forced employers to electronically verify the immigration status of their employees.
► In Sunday’s NY Times — Farmers oppose GOP bill on immigration — Farmers across the country are rallying to fight a Republican-sponsored bill that would force them and all other employers to use E-Verify to confirm the legal immigration status of their workers, a move some say could imperil not only future harvests but also the agricultural community’s traditional support for conservative candidates.
► From AP — Manufacturing growth hits lowest level in 2 years — Manufacturing activity barely grew in July, falling to the weakest level since just after the recession ended. The disappointing report is the first major report on how economy performed in July. It suggests the dismal economic growth in the first half of the year could extend into the July-September quarter.
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — A fix for delusional math: A 10% ‘war tax’ on everyone (Danny Westneat column) — The “no new taxes, anytime, ever” orthodoxy is so strong in some quarters that if you point out that one of our largest companies has contributed essentially zero to the ledger, that makes you a big-government-loving, wealth-redistributing socialist. “Quit picking on Boeing,” read an email. So this week I’ll pick on Microsoft.
► In today’s Washington Post — From the debt debate to the coming hostage revolt (Katrina vanden Heuvel column) — In the melodrama that is consuming Washington this hot summer, featuring the spectacle of how much Tea Party Republicans will be able to extort for agreeing not to blow up the economy, the values and priorities of most Americans were early casualties. That reality will drive — no matter what the resolution this week — new, independent citizen mobilizations challenging both Republican zealotry and Democratic cravenness.
The debt-ceiling debate has lasted long enough for most Americans to start paying attention and to realize just how divorced both parties are from basic common sense. With the economy faltering and 25 million people in need of full-time work, most Americans want Washington focused on how to create jobs and get the economy going, not on slashing spending for the rising number of poor children while sheltering tax havens for millionaires.
Equally inexplicable is the president’s apparent eagerness to negotiate with a legislative faction willing to hold the entire economy hostage — and one prepared to extort concessions in backroom deals that it could not achieve in any normal legislative process. Negotiating with fiscal terrorists only encourages them.
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