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Tuesday’s election, hidden costs of privatization, Boeing….



► In today’s Olympian — State liquor measure drawing to a close — Washington’s record spending on ballot initiatives will come to an end Tuesday evening with the 8 p.m. deadline for returning ballots in the state’s first all-mail general election. The Initiative 1183 campaign is the most expensive in state history and, if successful, will end a government-run liquor sales and distribution system that dates to 1933. The retailing giant Costco has contributed $22.5 million to I-1183.

ALSO SEE — As mail ballots arrive, labor recommends… (Oct. 21)

► From AP — Eyes of nation on Ohio vote on union-limiting law — A ballot battle in Ohio that pits the union rights of public workers against Republican efforts to shrink government and limit organized labor’s reach culminates Tuesday in a vote with political consequences from statehouses to Pennsylvania Avenue.

► In The Hill — Trumka heads to Ohio before referendum vote — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is expected at several events throughout the state to help get out the vote to repeal legislation, known as Senate Bill 5, which would curb public workers’ collective bargaining rights.




► In today’s NY Times — A hidden toll as states shift to contract workers — Outsourcing becomes more popular during tough economic times as states and municipalities transfer the operations of facilities like prisons, school cafeterias and sanitation departments to private contractors. The a legal battle in Michigan highlights the potential pitfalls in such decisions. And taxpayers can end up paying for the cuts in more indirect ways. What governments save in salaries and benefits often “ends up on the government books through all sorts of programs,” said one expert,  referring to unemployment insurance, Medicaid and other public assistance for contract workers earning low incomes.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State’s small school districts may face big cuts in state aid — The governor is proposing to slash what the state spends trying to close the gap in taxpayer support between rich and poor school districts. Her plan would end so-called levy equalization payments to 96 school districts.

► In the Columbian — School districts protest proposed cuts — Nearly 100 school officials representing all 30 Southwest Washington school districts asked local lawmakers Friday to spare school levy equalization funding as they set about the grim task of slashing $2 billion from the state budget.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Cuts to school bus funds not idle talk — Experts say Washington would be the first state to completely eliminate state dollars for bus service because of the recent recession. Most Spokane-area school districts use state money to supplement bus costs.

► In the Bellingham Herald — Gregoire laments education cuts in Bellingham visit — “We need to pull together as a community and as a state to get through this,” she says.

► In Sunday’s Columbian — Cuts to 99% hurt small businesses (column by Don Orange, Chairman of the Main Street Alliance) — As small business owners, we support approaches to deficit reduction and job creation that call on large corporations and the wealthy to contribute their fair share rather than further cuts to basic services that strengthen our economy by bolstering the middle class.

► In Saturday’s Spokesman-Review — Cuts perilous; let’s talk jobs (column by Ron Wells, small business owner) — If elected leaders are serious about supporting small businesses and getting our economy back on track, abandon the failed policies of job-killing budget cuts. Pay for investments in our communities by closing tax loopholes, and expect Wall Street banks and big corporations to once again pay their fair share.




► In the Seattle Times — Keep Boeing planes ‘Made in Washington’ (editorial) — WSU President Elson Floyd emphasizes the role of education in the long-term strategy to keep Boeing in Washington state. His words should echo through Olympia during the next legislative session. Washington is a proud partner with Boeing. Each can take a measure of pride in a quote right out of the news. A Polish pilot who safely brought a 767 airliner to a skidding emergency landing said it all: “These are very well-made planes.” Washington must recognize what it will take to keep making them here.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing, union members find common ground on improving productivity — The Boeing Co. and the Machinists union aren’t known for getting along. But in a conference room in the Everett factory last week, representatives from both sides were united in their enthusiasm for a continuous productivity-improvement program that came out of the 2008 contract.

► At — Problem found on 787 landing gear — Boeing and All Nippon Airways are investigating a potential glitch with Boeing’s new 787.




► In today’s Olympian — Health workers plan strike — Unionized workers at Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice are set to strike next week to protest proposed changes to employee sick-leave policies and health care coverage. The strike is set for 7 a.m. Wednesday through about 7 a.m. Friday. Workers represented by the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW plan to gather at 3432 South Bay Road in Olympia, the main office for Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice.

ALSO SEE — Providence nurses in Olympian plan ULP strike (Oct. 31)

► At — Farm workers react to inmates picking apples — “The company’s willing to pay 22 dollars to have inmates working at their farms… yet they’re not willing to pay the farm worker, who has you know, ten years of experience, who’s been doing this for a large part of his life anything above minimum wage,” says Jorge Valenzuela of the United Farm Workers of America.

► In the Yakima H-R — Farm workers plead for equal treatment — A labor shortage in apple orchards has more to do with low wages than a lack of available workers, organizers with the United Farm Workers union says.

ALSO SEE — Apple pickers seeking ‘prison pay’ turned away (Nov. 4)

► At IAM 751’s blog — Spokane Machinists ratify deals to keep buses rolling — Machinists Union members who work at two companies maintaining Spokane-area buses have ratified new contracts this fall.

► In the Tri-City Herald — $115 billion not enough to finish work at Hanford, board says — The Hanford Advisory Board sent a letter to the DOE and its regulators saying that the estimate does not include cleanup work the board expects may be needed and also does not include fully developed cost estimates for some work.




► From AP — AFSCME President Gerald McEntee to retire — The head of the nation’s largest public employee union plans to step down next year, setting up a heated contest to guide a political powerhouse that has been one of the biggest spenders in Democratic campaigns. Gerald McEntee, who has guided the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees since 1981, told members in a letter Thursday that he would not seek another four-year term at the union’s convention next summer.

► From AP — Most of the unemployed no longer receive benefits — Early last year, 75% were receiving checks. The figure is now 48% — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America’s 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

► In The Hill — Lawmakers face new fight over extended unemployment benefits — Advocates of reauthorizing the program feel confident that a yearlong extension will get tucked into one of several different bills that could pass by year’s end.

► In today’s NY Times — The next fight over jobs — Unemployment benefits are the first line of defense against ruin from job loss that is beyond an individual’s control. In a time of historically elevated long-term unemployment, they are an important way to keep workers connected to the job-search market. They are also crucial to ensuring that the weak economy doesn’t weaken further. They clearly need to be extended, though we have no illusion that it will happen without a fight.

► In today’s NY Times — Wall Street’s resurgent prosperity frustrates its claims, and Obama’s — President Obama has called people who work on Wall Street “fat-cat bankers,” and his reelection campaign has sought to harness public frustration with Wall Street. Financial executives retort that the president’s pursuit of financial regulations is punitive and that new rules may be “holding us back.” But both sides face an inconvenient fact: During Obama’s tenure, Wall Street has roared back, even as the broader economy has struggled.




► In The Onion — Bank executives on 15th floor gambling on which Occupy protesters will be arrested next (Warning: Obscene language) — The bankers had gathered around the large picture window in a mahogany-paneled conference room after an exhausting morning of foreclosing on more than 9,000 homes. “Five-thousand bucks says it’s V For Vendetta Guy,” bank vice chairman Malcolm Grant said in reference to a protester wearing the stylized Guy Fawkes mask popularized by the 2006 film. “Look at him. He’s just asking for the cuffs with that thing on his face. Come on, who’s in?”


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