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EGT update, ’12 session begins, assault on unions…

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EGT vs. ILWU

 

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Protest planned for first ship to dock at EGT grain terminal — The U.S. Coast Guard will escort the first ship coming to the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview this month, and the Occupy movement and local labor groups say they are planning to greet the vessel with a massive protest. EGT officials say they have not scheduled a date for the ship’s arrival. The freighter is expected to haul thousands of tons of grain to Asia, but opposition groups are already marshaling their forces to support the lengthy protest by union dock workers at the grain terminal.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Misdemeanor charges to be dismissed against 9 ILWU protesters— Cowlitz County prosecutors said they are dismissing misdemeanor charges against nine union dock workers and supporters who protested this summer at the EGT grain terminal.

ALSO SEE — Here’s why longshore workers are so angry (Sept. 8, 2011)

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► In today’s Olympian — Spring, fall elections to play big role in session that begins today — The Legislature kicks off a chaotic 60-day session battle Monday with a sense of urgency about fixing a $1.5 billion budget gap. But in many ways the 2012 legislative session is looking like a giant run-up to spring and fall elections. In fact, Democratic leaders hope voters will undo much of their work.

► Local session previews in the Bellingham Herald, (Everett) Herald, Seattle Times, Spokesman-Review, Tri-City Herald, and the Yakima H-R.

► From AP — State agencies save an extra $100 million — Washington agencies wrestling with budget reductions have managed to save an additional $100 million a year beyond the cuts mandated by the Legislature. The surplus cash has provided a boost to the state as revenues have been slow to recover from the recession.

► In The Olympian — Fewer legislators cutting own pay voluntarily— Most lawmakers voted for a bill last year that, in effect, ratified 3% cuts in pay and hours for most state workers. SB 5860 encouraged elected officials to follow suit voluntarily. As of Friday, 23 of 49 senators and 46 of 98 representatives are still cutting their pay voluntarily in 2012. See the list.

► In The Olympian — Ruling likely will save school days— Thursday’s Supreme Court decision that the Legislature has neglected basic education could shape the debate over where to cut the state spending that is outpacing revenue. The decision makes it less likely that lawmakers will shorten the school year.

► From AP — Gonzalez joining state Supreme Court on Monday

► In the Wenatchee World — Arena debt question headed to Supreme Court

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Districts will ask voters to support hundreds of jobs — School levies are often associated with K-12 programs, such as sports, art and music. But the community-supported portion of a school district’s budget – a local tax – also helps pay for hundreds of jobs within a school district, including teachers, coaches, bus drivers, secretaries and janitors. Three-year levies in 13 of Spokane County’s school districts will expire at the end of 2012, and voters will be asked to continue the taxes – plus tack on a few more cents to compensate for state budget cuts.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Plan for new Navy wharf at Bangor fires up nuke debate — The Navy wants a $715 million second munitions wharf and the Pentagon is scheduled to issue its final environmental-impact statement early this year, one of the last major hurdles before the four-year construction can begin in July. But critics are trying to block the project, calling it a costly, unneeded project for a bygone era. According to the Navy’s estimates, the wharf project is expected to create 4,370 direct jobs and 1,970 indirect jobs. The Navy plans to use workers hired through local union halls.

ALSO SEE — PLA for Navy’s Bangor project is a first (Dec. 15)

► In the (Everett) Herald — Prison officials believe dereliction of duty led to Biendl’s death — As the somber anniversary of the slaying of Monroe corrections officer Jayme Biendl nears, newly released documents show that state prison officials believe dereliction of duty by some of her co-workers helped set the stage for the killing.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Everett asks agency to dismiss firefighter union ruling — IAFF Local 46 filed a complaint in 2011 alleging unfair labor practices. PERC found that the city changed policies regarding firefighter overtime and staffing levels without including the union, and then refused to negotiate the changes. The city is appealing that ruling.

► In Sunday’s Columbian — Few places to build jobs — Clark County has willing workers but a dearth of shovel-ready land for employers, and that could imperil the area’s economic recovery if local governments don’t take action, experts say.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Safety, health issues prompt calls to replace aging county courthouse

► In the Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County to save $719,000 with 10 furlough days in 2012

 


NATIONAL

 

► From AP — NLRB overturns requirement for arbitration — Employers can’t require workers to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from pursuing group claims in court, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday, in a decision that some experts say could have wide repercussions.

► In the NY Times — Private sector gets job skills; public gets the bill — Dozens of companies, many with growing profits and large cash reserves, have come to expect state-funded training programs tailored to their needs in return for creating jobs.

► In Radio World — AFTRA recommends tentative accord with recording industry — After negotiations with the record labels, the leadership committee of one of the main unions for on-air talent has voted to send a new sound recording agreement to its members for ratification. It affects AFTRA members who do recording work.

► In the NY Times — Agents’ union stalls training on deportation rules — A far-reaching new training course aims to push immigration enforcement officers and prosecutors nationwide to focus their efforts on deporting immigrants convicted of crimes. But the union representing some 7,000 ICE deportation officers has so far not allowed its members to participate in the training.

 


POLITICS

 

► At TPM — The rapid economic recovery Republicans are praying against — Last Friday’s promising jobs report alighted into the political consciousness the possibility that a robust economic recovery could take hold imminently, and thus overturn a year’s worth of conventional wisdom about the trajectory of the 2012 election.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Oh, no!

► In the Lansing (Mich.) S-J — Fact check: Romney hits turbulence with Boeing case — A Mitt Romney ad running in South Carolina distorts the truth by claiming that the NLRB told The Boeing Co., “You can’t build a factory in South Carolina because South Carolina is a right-to-work state.” That misstates the facts.

► In today’s NY Times — America’s unlevel playing field (Paul Krugman column) — Where is the evidence that Romney or his party actually believes in equal opportunity? Judging by their actions, they seem to prefer a society in which your station in life is largely determined by that of your parents — and in which the children of the very rich get to inherit their estates tax-free.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In the NY Times — The continuing assault on unions (editorial) — Along with their shameful campaign to curb the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers in Wisconsin and Ohio last year, Republicans in statehouses around the country are taking aim at private sector unions. There is little doubt that politics is also behind the Republicans’ push for “right-to-work” laws: they see an opportunity to further weaken unions, which are far more likely to support Democrats — as well as health care reform and a higher minimum wage — by slashing their funding and their donating power. Voters, unionized or not, should recognize this push for what it is: bad economics and cynical politics.

 


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.

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