► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing, union seal deal for jets, jobs, peace — The landmark agreement unveiled Wednesday by the Machinists union and Boeing should secure thousands of local jobs, end the simmering NLRB lawsuit, and offer an unexpected Christmas bonus to start off a four-year contract extension. Beyond all that, though, the surprise pact may signify a new era for two forces whose bitter adversarial relationship and recurring clashes have repeatedly shaken the region and endangered one of its economic cornerstones. Machinists union officials said the tentative agreement, to be voted on by members next Wednesday, represents “a new day” in labor relations that should help the Puget Sound region maintain its preeminence in aerospace manufacturing.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing deal a surprise — a good one — for Machinists — “This is the most positive sign we’ve had for the economy in the last two or three years,” said Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council. “To know with this agreement, they will continue to produce the best airplanes in the world without strife for the next four years has enormous positive value for the Machinists, the company and the economies of Snohomish County and the state.”
► In today’s NY Times — Machinists, Boeing reach deal — Says aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton: “Boeing wins in that it has four more years of production stability. It doesn’t have the pain and agony of a potential strike. It also wins in that it certainly appears that the N.L.R.B. case will go away. The union wins in that it will have the new 737 Max in Renton and job security. Boeing’s customers win because they don’t have the potential of a strike disruption. I don’t see any loser, other than the other states that were salivating to build the Max.”
► At AFL-CIO Now — Washington state will keep Boeing 737 jobs — The sweeping new four-year tentative agreement came after six weeks of negotiations and shows how the collective bargaining process benefits both workers and employers.
► See photos of yesterday’s Occupy the Capitol action. (Click here for more information about continuing actions this week in Olympia.)
► In today’s Olympian — Schools group wants tax hike to spare poor — The Washington Education Association is withholding support from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed half-cent increase in the sales tax to help schools and health care programs. Instead its leaders want lawmakers to look for other tax options that don’t hit the low-income taxpayer so hard.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Garfield students protest more cuts to schools — About 400 students walked out of Seattle’s Garfield High School and over to City Hall to make a statement about the importance of public education.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Clinic staff, patients rally against cuts to health services — Community Health Association of Spokane staff and patients gathered early Wednesday at the downtown Denny Murphy clinic to rally support. A large net strung outside the clinic held 670 balls, each one signed by a patient, to represent the number of people treated each day.
► At TheOlympian.com — Ads ask lawmakers for revenue to avert health care cuts — The face of an elderly couple is featured in ads scheduled to appear today in Washington newspapers, asking state lawmakers to consider revenue options, while sparing programs such as adult day health. A coalition including the SEIU Healthcare 775 NW, AARP Washington, and the Eldercare Alliance is paying for the ads.
► In today’s Olympian — Let voters decide the quality of health care we’ll have (editorial) — We are encouraged that a “revenue coalition” is coming together in this state to pressure lawmakers to do the right thing by sending a tax increase proposal to the ballot as soon as March. Otherwise, all the horrible budget cuts will become a reality and people will suffer the consequences.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — City Hall union offers to freeze pay — The leadership of Spokane City Hall’s largest labor union (AFSCME Local 270) has made an offer that normally might be hard to refuse: Three years of frozen pay levels. But it would leave a scheduled raise of up to 5% in place for some workers in 2012 and wouldn’t change employee benefits, prompting Mayor-elect David Condon to wonder if outgoing Mayor Mary Verner, who approved the tentative deal, is trying to shield city workers from tougher negotiating once he is sworn into office.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Judge delays ruling on Sept. 7 ILWU trespassing case — A Cowlitz County District Court judge is considering a longshore union request to dismiss criminal trespassing charges against dozens of dockworkers and their supporters who are alleged to have participated in a Sept. 7 protest at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview.
► At SocialistWorker.org — Labor war in Longview — Since May, ILWU Local 21 has been escalating the fight in a two-year-plus battle to force the multinational conglomerate EGT Development to honor its contract and use ILWU labor at a new $200 million grain terminal in Longview. The Longview struggle is a crucial test for labor and the wider working-class movement. In late November, we interviewed Local 21 President Dan Coffman and Local 21 Vice President Jake Whiteside. Read about the background and significance of this modern-day labor war.
ALSO SEE — Here’s why Longshore workers in Longview are so angry (The Stand, Sept. 8)
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Pasco, Wenatchee fight mail processing shift to Spokane — Barely three weeks after Yakima learned it would lose its USPS mail processing center to Pasco, residents there are now fighting keep that facility. Almost 100 Tri-City area residents shot their hands into the air Tuesday night when asked if they opposed moving Pasco’s processing and distribution center to Spokane.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima mail processing just keeps on moving (editorial) — Moving Yakima’s mail processing all the way to Spokane only amplifies customers’ concerns voiced last summer. A Yakima-to-Yakima letter that would travel about 170 miles to Pasco and back would more than double that journey to Spokane — 400 miles or more. A one-day delay could turn to two days or more, especially in inclement winter weather.
ALSO SEE — Attend USPS public meetings on processing plant closures — Next up: TONIGHT (Thursday) in Wenatchee at 6 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, 1225 N. Wenatchee Ave.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Metro bars ‘Buy American’ ad — A local group’s plan to buy ads on Metro buses urging people to “Buy American” and “Shop Locally” has been rejected by King County as too political.
► In today’s NY Times — NLRB approves faster vote on unions — The proposed rules, which face one more vote before they are final, are intended to reduce the average amount of time to hold unionization elections and campaigns to under 21 days, down from the current median of 38. They would, for example, require employers to postpone their legal challenges to elections until after the workers vote. Under current procedures, such challenges are often filed before votes are cast and can end up delaying the balloting for weeks or months.
► At AFL-CIO Now — House Republicans pass bill to cut workers’ rights — The Republican-controlled U.S. House passed (235-188) legislation that gives employers new tools to combat and delay elections by workers who try to form unions. Dubbed the Election Prevention Act by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the bill is the GOP effort to block some modest rule changes proposed by the NLRB to reduce unnecessary litigation and modernize the way union elections are conducted.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Elusive U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and self-proclaimed moderate Rep. Dave Reichert joined Washington Republicans Reps. Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers in voting for this. All Washington Democrats voted “no.”
► In today’s NY Times — GOP, Democrats differ on how to prevent Social Security tax increase — Senate Republican leaders introduced a bill that would keep the payroll tax rate at its current level for another year at a cost of roughly $120 billion. They would offset most of the cost by freezing the pay of federal employees through 2015 and gradually reducing the federal work force by 10%. Senate Democratic leaders want a deeper temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes. They would offset the cost with a 3.25% surtax on modified adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Does it make sense to be cutting Social Security taxes at a times there are concerns about the system’s long-term financing? This will make the numbers look worse and be used as an excuse to cut benefits in the future. It this “temporary” tax cut is extended, it should be accompanied by an increase in the cap on wages. Currently, people who make $106,800 are not taxed on income that exceeds that amount. For more information, see this helpful video.
► In The Hill — House Dems look to exempt Medicare from automatic spending cuts — While some Republicans are taking heat for seeking to mitigate $600 billion in sequestration cuts to the Defense Department, a handful of House Democrats this week put forward their own proposal to spare Medicare from spending cuts triggered by the August debt deal.
► In The Hill — GOP warns members on tax votes — House Republican leaders warned their caucus the GOP risks losing its image as the party opposed to tax hikes if it allows the one-year payroll tax break to expire at the end of the year.
► In today’s Portsmouth Herald — New Hampshire House kills “right-to-work” bill — A House vote missed the majority needed to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the Right to Work bill, and state Rep. Lee Quandt hailed the outcome as “a good example of Republicans working with Democrats on behalf of workers in the state of New Hampshire.”
► In today’s NY Times — Camps are cleared, but ’99 Percent’ still occupies lexicon — Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy movement, protesters have succeeded in implanting “We are the 99 percent” into the cultural and political vocabulary.
► From Yahoo! News — How Republicans are being taught to talk about Occupy Wall Street — Republican spinmeister Frank Luntz tells Republican governors: 1) Don’t say “capitalism,” say “economic freedom.” 2) Don’t say government “taxes the rich,” say it “takes from the rich.” 3) Don’t say “middle class,” say “hardworking taxpayers.” 4) Don’t say “jobs,” say “careers.” 5) Don’t say “government spending, say “waste.” 6) Don’t say “compromise,” say “cooperation.” 7) Tell Occupiers, “I get it.”
And so on, and so forth.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. These links are functional at the date of posting, but sometimes expire.