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State budget, aerospace training, AFL-CIO news…



► At Publicola — Feeling the heat — Senate Republicans are going to roll out a budget proposal this morning that moves toward the Democratic position by making less or no cuts to education. The Senate Republicans’ grave public misstep on education funding along with agreement among the Senate and House Democrats and House Republicans, who all proposed ending some corporate loopholes such as the tax exemption for big banks on mortgage loans — dramatically weakened the Senate Republicans’ hand in this week’s budget talks where both education funding and closing loopholes were put back on the table. The Republicans’ proposal to cut education also embarrassed their gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Rob McKenna, who is running on a platform to increase education funding — which is exactly what the Democratic budget, initially offered by the Senate Democrats, does.

► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP to offer budget compromise — Senate Republicans plan to roll out a compromise state budget Thursday morning that reduces their proposed cuts to education and other areas of spending. Sen. Zarelli said the new GOP proposal would leave less money in reserve to free up funding to reduce cuts.

► EDITOR’S NOTE — Usually, when you’re bargaining via press conference, public relations has trumped an actual agreement.

► From AP — Gregoire says it’s time to ratchet up budget talks — Gov. Chris Gregoire will meet with the Legislature’s key budget writers this morning, a move she says is necessary because of a continued impasse in budget meetings between her and legislative leaders.

► In The Stranger — Lives on the line — Political writers tend to characterize the budget battle in Olympia as yet another partisan struggle between Republicans and Democrats, but as in most wars, it’s the civilian noncombatants who inevitably suffer the most devastating casualties. “If it wasn’t for Disability Lifeline, I would’ve been dead,” says William Cruz, 50, about a state health-care program that Republican budget writers are fighting to eliminate.




► At — SPEEA elects Executive Board members —  Tom McCarty was re-elected as SPEEA president. Bob Wilkerson was elected treasurer and Jimmie Mathis was elected secretary.

► In today’s Seattle Times — 11 community, technical colleges to offer aerospace-related certificate — A two-quarter certificate in computer-controlled machining is designed to make students readily employable in the state’s burgeoning airplane industry and to meet the needs of employers by quickly getting them workers with the required skills. Washington faces a looming shortage of machinists as Boeing prepares to raise its production rates while many of its employees approach retirement age. (Also see State gets $20 million for aerospace training posted 10-11-11 at IAM 751’s blog.)

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing has China deals for 30 more 777s, Albaugh says — Speaking at an aviation conference in New York, Albaugh said the deals were struck while he was in China last week. On that visit, he met with airlines and also signed a collaboration agreement in Beijing with Chinese airplane-maker COMAC.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Albaugh says Boeing is pleased with 787, 777X progress — A recent switch in managers already is paying off for Boeing’s 787 and 777 programs, the executive says.




► In the NW Labor Press — University of Oregon faculty vote to unionize — AFT and AAUP filed a joint petition March 13 to represent all 1,912 full-time and part-time faculty including tenure-track, non-tenure track, adjunct, emeritus, library faculty and research assistants. The UO faculty group is the largest group to unionize under the “card check” provisions since that law was passed in 2007.

► In the NW Labor Press — At Vancouver grain terminal, imported labor draws questions from lawmakers — The project they were working on — an $80 million expansion of the United Grain export terminal — is on public land, leased long-term from the Port of Vancouver. The Port of Vancouver, created by Clark County taxpayers in 1912, is a tax-supported public agency with a mission of economic development. Moreover, the project benefits from tax breaks and taxpayer-funded rail improvements and channel deepening.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Rethinking fire protection in south Snohomish County — Fire protection agencies all over are struggling to pay the bills. Property taxes are the main source of income, and property values have dropped. Agencies in south Snohomish County are looking for new ways to work together, share resources and survive.

► In the Bellingham Business Journal — Electrical journeymen, apprentices are learning to power the future — Nearing the end of his five-year electrician apprenticeship program, Josh Tate knows that to survive as an electrical worker in the 21st century, he’ll have to think solar: “It will be a necessity. Once it gets there, I hope to have my foot in the door.” Tate is one of 222 apprentices learning trade skills from the Northwest Washington Electrical Industry JATC.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Councils says 30 years of policies for 1% caused crisis, outlines steps to fix economy — In a broad statement issued at its annual winter meeting on “How to Fix What Is Wrong with Our Economy,” the council details the step-by-step policy decisions by business and government and the rise of corporate power over the past decades that brought the economy to its knees.

► In today’s NY Times — AFL-CIO takes on voter ID laws — AFL-CIO officials denounce the voter identification laws enacted in a dozen states and vowed to mount their biggest voter registration and protection efforts ever to counter these laws, which they said could disenfranchise millions of voters.

► In today’s Minneapolis S-T — Union leaders upset with Democratic convention in N.C. plan own ‘summit’— Union leaders upset that this summer’s Democratic National Convention will be held in right-to-work North Carolina plan to stage their own political gathering in a more union-friendly state.

► At AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO calls for overturning Citizens United case

► At AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO calls for across-the-board raise in Social Security benefits

► At AFL-CIO Now — Quality health care for women includes contraceptive equity — Women must have the right to quality health care, including equal access to contraception, and have the ability to exercise that right regardless of where they work, says the AFL-CIO Executive Council.




► In today’s NY Times — Women figure anew in latest Senate battle — Democrats insist that Republican opposition falls into a larger picture of insensitivity toward women that has progressed from abortion fights to contraception to preventive health care coverage — and now to domestic violence. Says Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA): “I am furious. We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”

► In The Hill — Senate passes $109B transportation bill, raising pressure on Boehner, House — The bipartisan 74-22 vote puts pressure on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the House to either pass a transportation bill of their own or take up the Senate-approved version of the measure ahead of a March 31 deadline for the expiration of current highway funding.

► In today’s NY Times — Hope for a good transportation bill (editorial) — Against heavy odds, Congress may yet produce a decent national transportation bill that would make needed investments in roads, bridges and mass transit without undermining environmental protections or providing handouts to big polluters.

► In today’s NY times — The Senate overachieves (by Gail Collins) — One of the great challenges for citizens in an era of partisan rancor is figuring out whether to applaud whenever our elected representatives manage to accomplish anything whatsoever. The bar is getting pretty low.




► In today’s NY Times — Private businesses fight federal prisons for contracts — Federal Prison Industries, also known as Unicor, does not have to worry much about its overhead. It uses prisoners for labor, paying them 23 cents to $1.15 an hour. Although the company is not allowed to sell to the private sector, the law generally requires federal agencies to buy its products, even if they are not the cheapest.

► At AlterNet — Bring back the 40-hour work week — The most essential thing to know about the 40-hour work-week is that, while it was the unions that pushed it, business leaders ultimately went along with it because their own data convinced them this was a solid, hard-nosed business decision: 150 years of research proves that long hours at work kill profits, productivity and employees.




► Stevie Wonder’s classic “Sir Duke,” live in studio!



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