Connect with us


Friends with fewer benefits, ballots for sale, Wall Street cheats…



► In today’s Seattle Times — Union opposes governor’s suggestion to cut benefits — Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget director, Marty Brown, sent a letter to a coalition of unions, primarily representing general government workers, asking them to reopen the health-care benefits agreement “in order to negotiate a reduction in the employer premium contribution.” A spokesman for the Washington Federation of State Employees said his union can’t speak for the coalition of unions, but said the WFSE plans to send Gregoire a letter “that asks her to convene a meeting of corporations that have benefited from corporate tax breaks and ask them to take a 3% rollback in their corporate tax breaks.”

► At Washington State Wire — Union health benefits back on table as state heads into budget storm — Critics of the current labor agreements (where employees are paying 15% of premiums, up from 12%) said it was time for state workers to make a bit more of a sacrifice. But it should be noted that state workers were required to begin paying large copayments and deductibles during the 2010 calendar year, and the way the unions calculated it, prior to last year’s agreement they were actually paying 25% percent — about the same as in the private sector. Unions last year also agreed to a flexible furlough plan that amounts to a 3% pay cut, saving the state $269 million. With that Gov. Christine Gregoire declared that public employees had sacrificed enough.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Governor wants employees to pay more for health care

► In today’s Olympian — Gregoire eyes workers’ benefits

► In today’s Seattle Times — 11,000 may rejoin state’s Basic Health Plan — About 11,000 people who were kicked off the state’s Basic Health insurance program for the working poor in March because of their immigration status will be allowed to re-enroll after a federal court judge said the state likely had violated their constitutional equal-protection rights.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 3 corrections officers fire at Monroe prison — Three corrections officers have been fired for their conduct at the Monroe Correctional Complex the night officer Jayme Biendl was killed and for inconsistent or false statements made to investigators afterward.

► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers need to think about impact of budget cuts (editorial) — Corrections has proposed eliminating community supervision for up to 12,000 felons of all stripes once they are released from incarceration. That would save $100 million and result in the elimination of 600 jobs. Corrections also is considering releasing all low- to moderate-risk offenders three months early, saving up to $25 million. As we see in the horrific crimes that two ex-cons – David “Joey” Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby – it’s a reminder to lawmakers and the governor about how fragile public safety is and how their actions do, indeed, have consequences.




► In today’s Seattle Times — NO on I-1183: Washington’s initiative process should be for sale (column by Kelly Fox of the State Council of Fire Fighters) — When Costco set out to dismantle the state liquor-control system, they spared no expense. It hired signature gatherers and poured $23 million into getting your vote for I-1183, a record for political money in Washington. With all that cash, they’ve tried to convince voters that a fourfold expansion in the number of outlets selling liquor is somehow good for public safety. Don’t believe it. I hope you will join me and hundreds of other emergency first responders across Washington, and let’s reject I-1183.

► In The Stranger– Kemper Freeman’s road rage — Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman believes you’ve been brainwashed into supporting light rail. He wants helicopters for the very rich, freeways for everyone else, and absolutely no light rail to Bellevue. That’s why he’s spent more than $1 million bankrolling I-1125, a statewide initiative that will screw up light-rail plans even though it sneakily doesn’t even mention light rail.

► At — Fighting Eyman’s I-11265 brings opposites together — The Boeing Co. and the Aerospace Machinists are running a joint anti-1125 radio ad.  The issue even has Washington Conservation Voters and the Washington Assn. of Realtors on the same side.

ALSO SEE — Boeing, IAM team up to oppose I-1125
Labor, business agree: NO on I-1125




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing projects break-even on 787 manufacturing in 10 years — The projection doesn’t imply that the troubled jet program, plagued by earlier disastrous setbacks, will recover heavy upfront development costs and make money overall. Some analysts believe that may never happen. Still, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney offered Wall Street the upbeat view that the 787 production process will show a steep efficiency improvement within the next six months, boosting prospects for future earnings.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Hey, shareholders! Just think how much sooner the popular 787 would have turned a profit had the company’s cost-cutting, ideologically anti-union executives not pursued the disastrous course of outsourcing the plane’s production and building an entirely new (and unnecessary) 787 plant from the rubble of one of its failed suppliers. If the company had stuck with the workforce that made this company a profitable world-class manufacturer, rather than simply asking them to clean up the mess made by company executives, Boeing — and you — would be making a lot more money. Now about that 737 MAX…

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing announces new delays to 787, 747-8 — After a three-year delay on the 787 and a two-year setback on the 747-8, Boeing is focused on increasing production.




► In today’s Wenatchee World — Skilled apple pickers needed to avert disaster — Stricter enforcement of immigration laws the past few years has gradually reduced the number of illegal immigrants who come up from Mexico eager to do the hard work that most U.S. citizens are not willing to do. Because harvest is nearly two weeks later than usual this year, many workers — some legal, some not — who came north for the harvest have already returned home. Growers, as a result, are facing a year when they may end up leaving millions of dollars worth of fruit on the trees unpicked.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Progress made in emptying underground tanks — Hanford crews have begun work to remove radioactive waste from the bottom of another of Hanford’s underground tanks, with a goal of having it emptied by the end of the calendar year.




► In today’s NY Times — Democrats’ first offer: Up to $3 trillion to cut debt — A majority of the 6 Democrats on the 12-member panel threw their support behind a plan that they said incorporated some ideas discussed over the summer by Obama and Boehner. Charged with cutting at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years, the Democratic plan would trim much more, a total of $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion, through cuts in the growth of federal entitlement programs, including Medicare, and more than $1 trillion in new tax revenues. Republicans, who have repeatedly said they would not accept a package that included tax increases, quickly rejected the proposal.

► At TPM — As Supercommittee!™ deadlocks, influential conservatives harden their no-tax demands — With less than a month to go before the Committee’s statutory deadline, the GOP’s leading lights and the stars of the conservative movement aren’t relenting one bit, leaving the panel’s Republicans little room to maneuver.




► In today’s NY Times — Facing hardship, jobless still say they have hope — The nation’s lingering unemployment crisis has forced many people without work to dip into their savings, borrow from relatives and do without necessities including health insurance, and most people who receive unemployment benefits said that the money was not enough to meet their basic needs, according to a poll of jobless Americans. Still, despite enduring hardships and being even more pessimistic about the nation’s economy than the general public, unemployed Americans remained optimistic about eventually landing jobs.

► At Huffington Post — Americans staying put more than at any time since WWII — Americans are staying put more than at any time since World War II, as the housing bust and unemployment keep young adults at home and thwart older Americans’ plans for a beachfront or lakeside retirement.

► In the National Journal — How business lobbyists secretly paved the way for the FTAs — Far outside the public eye, the business community essentially acted as a shadow party to the bilateral talks. Industry lobbyists worked both governments for information, pushed to keep the talks alive, and offered solutions to clear roadblocks and find a middle ground. The industry groups didn’t all have the same agendas — some considered the Colombia pact a must-have priority, while others worried that fights over Colombia and Panama could jeopardize passage of the far bigger deal with Korea. But the business groups formed a united front in pushing for all three deals simultaneously and supporting assistance to displaced workers. Almost all of the maneuvering took place in secret, and few of the details ever spilled into the public.

► In today’s NY Times — Chrysler workers OK pact that adds 2,100 jobs — The last of the major automaker labor contracts was ratified on Wednesday when UAW officials announced that employees at Chrysler had approved a 4-year agreement.

► In today’s NY Times — Romney appears to waver on Ohio anti-union rules — The Republican presidential nominee gave critics some new ammunition by appearing to waffle on whether he supports tough anti-union legislation in Ohio that is up for a vote on a referendum in that state.




► In today’s LA Times — Putting the move in Occupy movement — More than a month into the Occupy movement, officials are beginning to talk openly of moving protesters out of their encampments in parks and public squares around the country. But looming large is the cautionary spectacle of Oakland, where police arrested about 100 protesters using tear gas and riot gear — only to face a massive evening protest and threats of continued unrest from angry backers of the movement.

► In today’s SF Chronicle — Occupy Oakland protesters regroup; Iraq vet injured — Hundreds of protesters responded Wednesday night by packing the amphitheater at Frank Ogawa Plaza, where they voted to hold a citywide general strike on Nov. 2, when workers and students will be urged to stay home to show support of the Occupy movement.

► From ABC News — Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in solidarity march

Washington’s Occupy protests on Facebook: Occupy BellinghamOccupy EverettOccupy OlympiaOccupy Seattle (website) — Occupy SpokaneOccupy TacomaOccupy Tri-CitiesOccupy WenatcheeOccupy Yakima




► In Rolling Stone — Wall Street isn’t winning — it’s cheating (Matt Taibbi column) — Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners.  But that’s just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they’re cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more. In this country, we cheer for people who hit their own home runs – not shortcut-chasing juicers like Bonds and McGwire, Blankfein and Dimon.

That’s why it’s so obnoxious when people say the Occupy protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life. This isn’t disappointment at having lost. It’s anger because those other guys didn’t really win. And people now want the score overturned.

People don’t want handouts. It’s not a class uprising and they don’t want civil war — they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It’s amazing that some people think that that’s asking a lot.


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!