AMERICA’S POSTAL SERVICE
► From AP — Senate votes to slow closing of post offices— The Senate offered a lifeline to the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday, voting to give the struggling agency an $11 billion cash infusion while delaying controversial decisions on closing post offices and ending Saturday delivery. By a 62-37 vote, senators approved a measure which had divided mostly along rural-urban lines. Over the past several weeks, the bill was modified more than a dozen times, adding new restrictions on closings and cuts to service that rural-state senators said would hurt their communities the most. The issue now goes to the House, which has yet to consider a separate version of the bill.
► At APWU.org — Senate approves amended postal bill — “Although the bill is flawed, the amended version is far better than the original,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “That is a result of the tremendous effort of APWU members, postal customers, and elected officials who appreciate the importance of the Postal Service to American life.”
► At NALC.org — NALC disappointed, but determined as senate passes S. 1789 — “We’re disappointed, but we are determined to fight on,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said after the vote. “It may take months to get a bill through the House of Representatives, but we will not rest in this struggle to defend a strong and viable Postal Service.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Senate vote may save Everett post office, others
► Over the past week, The Stand has urged readers to contact Washington state legislators with ties to ALEC, as listed by the “ALEC Exposed.” Since then, all three Democrats listed there have indicated that they don’t (or no longer will) participate in ALEC. Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-19th) said, “In 16 years as a legislator, I’ve attended two (ALEC) meetings.” Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D-24th) said he resigned his membership. And now, the office of Rep. Troy Kelley (D-28th) confirmed that he did once attend an ALEC meeting, but Rep. Kelley “does not participate in ALEC and is not a member.”
That leaves Rep. Jan Angel (R-26) and Sen. Don Benton (R-17), who are ALEC’s “State Chairmen,” plus Reps. Matt Shea (R-4), Gary Alexander (R-20), Charles Ross (R-14), Barbara Bailey (R-10), Joe Schmick (R-9), Kevin Parker (R-6), Mike Armstrong (R-12) and Bill Hinkle (R-13), and Sens. Val Stevens (R-39), Linda Evans Parlette (R-12), Joseph Zarelli (R-18), Michael Carrell (R-28), Pam Roach (R-31), Doug Ericksen (R-42), Janea Holmquist Newbry (R-13), Randi Becker (R-2), Mike Hewitt (R-16) and Jerome Delvin (R-8).
If one of these legislators represents you, contact them and urge them to drop all ties with ALEC. Let us know if they respond. The Stand will be happy to update this list if legislators report that they no longer participate in ALEC.
► At Politico — Big Labor’s big moment— For years Big Labor has been looking small, but it doesn’t feel that way now. Unions won an Ohio referendum overturning Gov. John Kasich’s effort to restrict collective bargaining for government employees. They built a recall campaign that could still knock Republican Scott Walker out of the governor’s mansion in Maple Bluff, Wis. And on Tuesday night, they kneecapped Rep. Jason Altmire in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary — getting payback for his vote against the president’s health care law. Not bad for a movement that had been read its last rites.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Rob McKenna snaps at Democratic questioner on abortion bill: “Go get a job” — As he was leaving a conference in downtown Seattle, McKenna was followed by Kendra Obom, a volunteer for the state Democratic Party. She asked McKenna’s position on a bill known as the Reproductive Parity Act. Walking away, he told Obom, “You’re just trying to gain a political advantage, sorry. Why don’t you go get a job.”
► In The Stranger — The McKenna files — Archived documents suggest that Washington’s Republican candidate for governor may have misused his office at the King County Council to conduct election campaign business.
► From Government Executive — Romney rips ‘unfairness’ of federal pay, benefits — Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney includes federal pay and benefits in a list of items he considers to be unfair, saying: “We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Federal employees’ wages are unfair?! This from a real-life Gordon Gekko who got filthy rich by investing other people’s money in buying companies, laying off their workers, and reselling those companies for scrap — all while getting tax subsidies for this no-risk activity. And now, even as a candidate for the President of the United States, he is unapologetically hiding his millions of dollars overseas so he can pay a lower tax rate than the rest of us do. And his “fairness” platform is to cut federal employees’ wages and benefits?! (See Robert Reich’s excellent explanation of how R-money got his.)
► At Huffington Post — Walmart can cost surrounding communities millions in lost wages, economic activity, study finds — Puget Sound Sage, released a study earlier this month arguing that a planned Walmart store in that area will cost the community $13 million in economic activity and $14.5 million in lost wages over the next 20 years. The study predicts that a South Seattle Walmart will siphon business away from local retailers, and pay its employees much lower wages than they’d get working elsewhere.
► At PubliCola — Trucking company makes concessions to port truckers, including bathroom breaks — Western Ports Transportation, Inc., one of the trucking companies that allegedly harassed and retaliated against contract truckers at the Port of Seattle for supporting labor rights bills in Olympia, has reached a settlement with one worker — granting him and the company’s “independent contractors” key concessions.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — CH2M Hill Hanford contract to be extended— The DOE notified CH2M Hill that it plans to extend its contract for five years. CH2M Hill has about 1,800 employees and is responsible for demolishing facilities once used in plutonium production, cleaning up contaminated soil, managing solid radioactive waste and monitoring and cleaning up contaminated ground water.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing lifts forecast after strong quarter
► In today’s Daily News — Longview Fibre rejects Vancouver firm’s bid to restart paper machine
► In today’s Columbian — Local cities urge Gregoire to veto part of liquor law — Clark County leaders are calling on Gov. Chris Gregoire to veto portions of the state’s new liquor privatization bill that eliminate $10 million in state-shared liquor sales revenues. The move puts the state’s budget problems on the backs of Washington’s cash-strapped cities, said Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State Supreme Court to rule on executive privilege— Gov. Gregoire believes she can keep some documents from the public because of executive privilege. The Freedom Foundation believes she can’t because no such exemption exists in state law. This week the state Supreme Court accepted a case that will decide who’s right.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Machinists reject Lockheed’s health care, pension cuts — Machinists members at three Lockheed Martin locations are on strike after voting overwhelmingly to reject a company contract offer that reduced health care benefits and dropped defined-benefit pensions for newly hired workers. Some 3,700 members are on strike in Fort Worth, Texas, Edwards Air Force Base in California and Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Ranks of uninsured grow as employers drop coverage — Many people aren’t qualifying for health coverage because they work part time. Two-thirds of workers not eligible for their employers’ health plans reported that they worked part time in 2010, up from one-half of workers in 1997.
► From McClatchy — US Air pushing its plan of merger — US Airways Group Inc. said it is focused on showing American Airlines creditors that its merger plan would result in $1.2 billion in cost synergies.
EDITOR’S NOTE — “Cost synergies?!” Does that mean pink slips?
► Ladies and gentlemen, we give you a YouTube classic… He-Man praying for revolution and wondering, “What’s Going On?” Have a great weekend — brought to you by the Labor Movement! (Not your weekend yet? Sorry. But it is for the entire staff of The Stand, who are taking Friday off. See you on Monday.)
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.