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RTW in Indiana, Boeing bonuses, rotten Apple…



UPDATE (Jan. 26): With the Indiana House’s passage of the right to work’ legislation, the Indiana AFL-CIO has requested an end to all national phone banks. So the Thursday, Jan. 26 afternoon phone banks in Seattle are cancelled. Stay tuned for word on next steps. And thank you for your solidarity!

► In today’s NY Times — Indiana House passes bill on ‘right to work’ — Even as the lawmakers in Indianapolis voted 54-44, mostly along partisan lines, to approve the measure, legislators and union leaders in other states said they were preparing for similar fights ahead.

► From AP — Indiana House deals blow to labor in Rust Belt — In another blow to organized labor in the traditionally union heavy Midwest, Indiana is poised to become the first right-to-work state in more than a decade after Republican lawmakers cleared the way on Wednesday to ban unions from collecting mandatory fees from workers.

► In today’s Great Falls Tribune — ‘Right to work’ doesn’t work for Montanans (by Montana AFL-CIO’s Al Ekblad) — It is about greed and billionaires who want to be trillionaires. For the 99% of us who work for a living it is about fair share, integrity, family, and community. If you don’t have decent wages, insurance and retirement, don’t buy into the message that it is somehow the fault of fellow workers that do. If you want better conditions in your workplace, organize and fight back.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing forecasts strong year for sales, 787 production progress — Boeing announces glowing year-end financials for 2011 and expresses confidence that this year it will significantly clear the costly clutter of more than 40 partially completed 787 Dreamliners on the flight line in Everett.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s white-collar workers getting bonus of 15 days pay — Boeing’s nonexecutive white-collar employees will get 15 days’ extra pay in mid-February for their annual incentive bonus.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Strong 4th quarter brings bonus for workers — Nearly 48,500 Boeing workers in Washington will get the bonuses. Members of the Machinists union aren’t eligible for the payout. They negotiated a separate bonus program.




► From AP — Republican lawmakers say work on state budget lags — House and Senate GOP leaders said too much time has been spent on hot-button issues from gay marriage to plastic-bag bans to abolishing the death penalty. The legislative session is nearly a quarter of the way complete and there is no timeline on when a draft budget will be circulated, they said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As long as we’re calling out wastes-of-time in Olympia, here are a few sponsored by the time-sensitive Republicans (hat tip to Goldy at The Stranger):

  • HB 2200 by Rep. John Ahern (R-Spokane) requiring physicians to describe “the anatomical and physiological characteristics of [an] unborn child” to all women seeking abortions.
  • HB 1950 by Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) is part of a national conspiracy to game the Electoral College to the Republicans’ advantage, creating a GOP lock on the White House.
  • HB 2600 by Rep. Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor) permitting recreational rock collecting.
  • HB 2349 by Rep. Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda) “concerning the management of beavers.” ‘Nuff said.

► In today’s News Tribune — Legislature seeks compromise on green-power mandate — Power companies this month are facing mandates voters imposed in 2006 to either produce green energy or buy credits from those who do. Utilities complain that I-937 requires them to buy power they don’t need – especially with the economic downturn depressing demand – and say they are passing costs to their customers.




► In the Washington Post — Apple stock soars after earnings report — Apple’s 116% profit growth helped push its total cash to $97.6 billion. The world’s largest technology company beat revenue forecasts by $7.3 billion, the most ever. The performance came during a quarter in which U.S. unemployment averaged 8.7% and about 12.7 million Americans were looking for work.

Apple product manufacturer Foxconn installed suicide nets in the Chinese township of Longhua to stop workers from jumping to their deaths. At least 12 have done so in the past year.

► In today’s NY Times — In China, human costs are built into an iPad — Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions. Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records.

► In today’s NY Times — Poll finds consumer confusion on where Apple devices are made

► In the NY Times — How the U.S. lost iPhone work — President Obama asked Steven Jobs: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States? Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said.

► In the Seattle Times — What would Henry Ford tell Apple? (Jon Talton column) — As America pulls apart, the status quo will become more unsustainable. The losers will grow. And if they get a clue, they will not support the current trade and globalization paradigm. If they get a clue. In the meantime, we have gadgets to amuse ourselves, gadgets made by suicidal workers in a communist dictatorship. Marx must be flustered by the irony, as he sits in heaven’s smoke-filled room with Ford, Patterson, Roosevelt, Wilson and Steve Jobs.

► In today’s Seattle Times — iPhone, iPad app rewards being a couch potato — Want to earn stuff by watching TV? A free app for that debuted Wednesday!




► In today’s Washington Post — A new vision for America: Restoring a country that makes things (Harold Meyerson column) — Our leaders are finally acknowledging what ordinary Americans have known for years: For most of its citizens, post-industrial America was no land of opportunity.

► In today’s NY Times — Talk of taxing the rich more faces political realities — President Obama’s call for “tax fairness” and Mitt Romney’s tax returns have catapulted the debate over tax increases on the rich to the top of the political agenda. But with even some top Democrats hesitant, the prospects of a so-called Buffett tax on high-earning households remain uncertain, if not remote, for the immediate future. What is left may be only politics, at least until after the November elections.

► From AP — Taxpayers still owed $132.9 billion from bailout, report says — A government watchdog says U.S. taxpayers are still owed $132.9 billion that companies haven’t repaid from the financial bailout, and some of that will never be recovered.

► In today’s NY Times — Survey finds dwindling financial aid contributes to fewer college options — College freshmen entering school last fall were less likely to attend their first choice of college, a function of both competition and cost, than at any other time since 1974.


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