Connect with us


EGT, Tacoma teachers, Obama’s plan, austerity bloodletting…

Today’s news links:



► In Saturday’s (Longview) Daily News — No arrests as 200 ILWU members, supporters attempt to turn themselves in — More than 200 union longshore workers and supporters massed peacefully outside the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice in Kelso early Friday afternoon, saying they were planning to surrender themselves to police to answer charges for demonstrations last week. But the officers present did not make any arrests, so the group dispersed. Later Friday, though, ILWU Local 21 Vice President Jacob Anthony Whiteside was arrested on two misdemeanor charges, the latest of 20 union protesters arrested on suspicion of blocking a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train. Union officials called the arrest — which they said was made in front of Whiteside’s children in a church parking lot — another example of local police “going on a rampage,” against union workers.




► In today’s News Tribune — Teacher strike still on as talks progress — As Tacoma families prepared for another day without school today, negotiations between the Tacoma teachers union and the school district continued late into the evening Sunday. The head of the state Public Employment Relations Commission, Cathy Callahan, mediated bargaining sessions. The union said talks will resume this morning.

► In Sunday’s News Tribune — No sanctions against teachers — for now — A Pierce County judge said he found the labor dispute between the Tacoma School District and the Tacoma Education Association “very distressing,” but he declined to sanction striking teachers for defying his order to return to work.

► In Saturday’s News Tribune — Pep really for teachers pulls crowd downtown — A throng of teachers, parents and students descended on the Tacoma Public Schools central office Friday, marching, waving signs and imploring district leaders to listen and offer teachers a fair contract. The downtown gathering took on the feel of a pep rally, with a mass of teenagers gathered on a grassy area facing Tacoma Avenue South, chanting messages such as “We support our teachers!”




► In today’s Olympian — New cuts impossible, agency heads warn — The $1.4 billion budget crater left by the state revenue forecast last week may require new cuts of up to 10 percent in many state government programs over the next few months. But cuts of any size might be impossible at some agencies, such as the Department of Corrections. Secretary Bernie Warner said that to make cuts, he would need to trim prison sentences by up to 120 days for all inmates except sex offenders and people imprisoned for violent crimes.

► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers are pawns in redistricting battle — With their opening positions staked out, the men in charge of drawing Washington’s political lines can get down to horse-trading. One thing all four of the Redistricting Commission’s voting members have that they can trade: legislators eager to stay in their districts.

► Also see similar stories in the Spokesman-Review and Tri-City Herald.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Keep a focus on our future (editorial) — Put everything on the table. Yes, including tax increases… After four years of cutting, the easy choices are gone. Our state’s future depends on the hard choices to come. Lawmakers of both parties must face them thoughtfully, creatively and courageously.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State’s latest battle over booze certain to be costly, heated — Voters can expect a multi-million dollar fight for their attention in the days ahead as supporters and opponents of the liquor privatization measure are each backed by well-heeled corporate interests. Already, those dueling on Initiative 1183 have raised $9.1 million, making it far and away the most expensive contest to be decided in November.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State voters favor Obama, McKenna in poll — A new statewide poll shows President Obama beating Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 51-37, and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, 49-40. In the gubernatorial race, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna picks up 46% support to Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee’s 39%.




► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — 1 in 5 Seattle workers earning six figures — Of the 2,309 city employees in the six-figure club last year, 79% worked in three departments: police, fire and City Light. The vast majority were rank-and-file union employees — police officers, firefighters and power-line workers — not management types.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Buried way, way down in this sensational story: “While overtime amounted to just 6% of city payroll last year, it was a decisive factor for a majority of the city employees who made six figures last year — particularly firefighters… Overtime shot up (at City Light) last year.” So, yet another cash-strapped city struggles amid budget cuts and pays more overtime rather than hiring sufficient workers, driving up salaries. And for that matter, why should an arbitrary number like $100,000 be imposed as some kind of salary ceiling in the state’s most expensive city?




► Today in The Hill — AFL-CIO outlines how Supercommittee!™ can bring down debt — The AFL-CIO is proposing a number of tax hikes and healthcare policy reforms, along with drawing troops down in Afghanistan and Iraq, to help bring down the national deficit. Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO will be urging members of Congress this October to help get Americans back to work, including passing $140 billion in funds for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and aiding state governments as proposed by President Obama in his American Jobs Act. Further, the AFL-CIO will be calling on lawmakers not to pass proposals that would slash benefits under Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama to offer plan to cut deficit by more than $3 trillion — The plan, which the president will lay out this morning, is the administration’s opening move in sweeping Supercommittee!™ negotiations on deficit reduction over the next two months. If a deal is not enacted by Dec. 23, cuts could take effect automatically across government agencies.

► At TPM — Obama’s $1.5 in taxes would hit wealthy most — here’s how — Most of the $1.5 trillion comes from policies Obama has proposed before. Letting the Bush tax rates for the top two income brackets expire nets about $800 billion. The rest comes from ending myriad tax preferences that benefit wealthy Americans and businesses.

► In today’s Washington Post — President Obama picks political fight over taxes — The numbers on taxing the wealthy are very clear: 72% of Americans support raising taxes on those making $250,000 or more as a means of reducing the debt. And 62% said taxes on the wealthy should be kept high “so the government can use their money for programs to help lower-income people.”

► In today’s NY Times — Retiree benefits for military may face cuts — The intense push to reduce the debt and the possibility that the Pentagon might have to begin trimming core programs like weapons procurement, research, training and construction have suddenly made retiree benefits vulnerable, military officials and experts say.




► Today in The Hill — Obama push for TAA doesn’t calm organized labor over free-trade deals — President Obama’s push for renewed assistance for workers who lose their jobs due to trade isn’t diminishing organized labor’s opposition to the three trade deals he wants Congress to approve. The AFL-CIO’s view is that Trade Adjustment Assistance should stand on its own merits and not be linked to the trade deals.

► In today’s LA Times — Southern Calif. grocery negotiations deadline passes — Talks continued into Sunday night to avert a strike at Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons in Southern California. In the event of a walkout, the chains’ competition would be the big winners.

► Speaking of “class warfare”… at Politico — Amid recession, politicians’ outside income triples, new report finds — Since 2006, lawmakers on the Hill have tripled their income from private-sector jobs and companies they own, a new analysis of financial disclosure statements says. In 2006, 75 members of Congress took in at least $7.8 million of outside income from private sector jobs and companies. In 2010, outside earnings had skyrocketed to $27.5 million by 68 lawmakers.




► In today’s NY Times — The bleeding cure (Paul Krugman column) — Fortunately, physicians no longer believe that bleeding the sick will make them healthy. Unfortunately, many of the makers of economic policy still do. And economic bloodletting isn’t just inflicting vast pain; it’s starting to undermine our long-run growth prospects. When you combine the growing evidence that fiscal austerity is reducing our future prospects with the very low interest rates on U.S. government debt, it’s hard to avoid a startling conclusion: budget austerity may well be counterproductive even from a purely fiscal point of view, because lower future growth means lower tax receipts. We need more, not less, government spending. And it’s not just pointy-headed economists saying this; business leaders like Google’s Eric Schmidt are saying the same thing, and the bond market, by buying U.S. debt at such low interest rates, is in effect pleading for a more expansionary policy.


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!