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We Are The 99%, L&I tax fraud, Costco goes all-in…

Today’s news links:



► In today’s Washington Post — Rescuing America from Wall Street (Harold Meyerson column) — Planned and unplanned, the groups are coming together. The imminent mixing of largely young and countercultural Wall Street occupiers with more seasoned and hard-nosed unionists and middle-class liberals may produce some clashes of style, but their shared anger at what banks have done to them — to all of us — should be sufficient to cement this nascent coalition. It had better be.

Not all of the problems with the current American model of capitalism originate with banking. But Wall Street’s growth has long come at the expense of productive enterprise, diverting dollars and talent from the business of making goods. Merely occupying Wall Street doesn’t go remotely far enough. We need to diminish finance with regulations that would make our economy both more secure and more productive. Here’s hoping the disparate groups of protesters come together, grow and stay in the streets. It will take a massive, vibrant protest movement to bring America’s subservience to Wall Street to its overdue end.

► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘Occupy Seattle’ ordered to remove tents from Westlake Park or be arrested — By midnight, no police were to be seen and close to 100 protesters were still occupying the park. The protest began Saturday, and each night the number of people sleeping in tents has grown. “We decided that we are not going anywhere,” Jared Wright said at midnight. “We plan to keep this going indefinitely.” (Get updates at their Facebook page.)

► In today’s LA Times — Southern Calif. protests gain momentum with union support — Protesters spent their fourth night camping outside Los Angeles City Hall, disrupted a bankers conference at a Newport Beach yacht club and demonstrated outside a financial executive’s Bel Air home.

► In today’s Washington Post — Nurses’ prescription for healing our economy (Katrina vanden Heuvel column) — It makes sense that nurses who are on the frontlines in our communities every day are leading an effort to hold Wall Street accountable for causing these economic troubles while raising hundreds of billions of dollars for vital human needs. National Nurses United are supporting a financial transactions tax, and they are on to something.




► In today’s Columbian — Effort to fight tax fraud has skeptics — A state and federal effort to fight tax fraud in the construction industry has raised skepticism among some who wonder how effective data sharing will really be at rooting out rule-breakers. Some businesses are cheating by treating their employees as independent contractors or simply not reporting them at all, which allows them to avoid paying unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation insurance. These companies can then offer their services at lower prices than their competitors who play by the rules, because they’re saving money on L&I taxes.

► In today’s Olympian — Two senators’ question to DOC employees; “What’s wrong?” — Sens. Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam) and Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood) have circulated an email to about 8,100 Department of Corrections employees, asking front-line staffers what is working and what needs fixing in the agency.




► At — Costco gives another $1.7 million to liquor privatization initiative — The Issaquah-based retail giant has now given more than $7 million in cash donations to I-1183 since June. Recent polling suggests the measure may be in trouble.

► A related story today from AP  — Costco hiking membership fees




► In the (Everett) Herald — Potential buyer surfaces for Everett mill — Kimberly-Clark Corp. says it has entered into serious talks with Atlas Holdings LLC to sell its pulp and paper mills. This summer, the company had warned its 750 workers that unless a buyer is found, it would shut the plants down early next year.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Clallam County facing 30 layoffs in budget-balancing move — County Administrator Jim Jones recommended the layoffs after he said the eight unions that represent county employees refused to accept a one-year waiver on a pre-negotiated 3% cost-of-living pay increase or bargain for a 10% reduction in salaries in the form of 24 unpaid furlough days.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Workers take to Capitol Hill to stop trade deals — More than 200 union members came to Capitol Hill — and tens of thousands of calls were made to members of Congress in a National Call-In Day — on Tuesday to tell lawmakers to vote “No” on proposed trade deals with Korea, Colombia and Panama. They told their senators and representatives Congress needs to focus on job-creating legislation like President Obama’s American Jobs Act, not job-killing trade deals.

► In today’s NY Times — The wrong way to deal with China (editorial) — China is undeniably manipulating its currency. Countries around the world, including the United States, are losing jobs because their manufacturing industries cannot compete with artificially cheap Chinese goods. For the good of the world economy, and its own long-term economic development, China should stop. Still, a Senate bill, with strong bipartisan support, to punish countries that manipulate their currencies is a bad idea. It could do even more damage to the American economy if — as is all too likely — China decides to retaliate.

EDITOR’S NOTE — How’s that gun to America’s head feel? That’s what we get for financing wars and tax cuts for the wealthy by borrowing from China.

► In today’s LA Times — Obama works to sell jobs plan, but it’s far from a sure deal — Democratic leaders look for ways to pay for the $447-billion proposal, while Republicans in the Senate seek — unsuccessfully — to force an immediate vote.

► In today’s Washington Post — Poll sees a new low in Americans’ approval of Congress — After nine months of contentious battles on Capitol Hill, Americans have reached a new level of disgust toward Congress that has left nearly all voters angry at their leaders and doubtful that they can fix the problems facing the country.

► In today’s Washington Post — Opposition to Obama grows — strongly — Four in 10 Americans “strongly” disapprove of how President Obama is handling job as president, the highest that number has risen during his time in office and a sign of the hardening opposition to him as he seeks a second term.




► In today’s NY Times — Hiring locally for farm work is no cure-all — With tough times lingering, Colorado farmer John Harold brought in only two-thirds of his usual contingent of H2-A seasonal foreign workers. The other positions, he figured, would be snapped up by jobless local residents wanting some extra summer cash. “It didn’t take me six hours to realize I’d made a heck of a mistake,” Harold said. Six hours was enough, between the 6 a.m. start time and noon lunch break, for the first wave of local workers to quit. Some simply never came back and gave no reason. Twenty-five of them said specifically, according to farm records, that the work was too hard.


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