► In today’s Seattle Times — Governor must drive harder bargain with state employees (editorial) — On Wednesday, the state begins negotiating with unions on contracts to begin July 1, 2013. After four years, it should be clear the economy has permanently reset. State contracts should complete that adjustment.
WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Survey shows state ferry workers lag in pay behind peers — A new survey shows most Washington State Ferries workers are paid less than their maritime industry peers. Shipyard employees lag the market by 5.4%, terminal and vessel positions by 6.7%, and administrative staff by 15.7%. The survey includes data from 17 comparable public and private maritime employers on the West Coast.
► In the Kitsap Sun — Ferry fares rising 3% Tuesday, plus peak surcharge— The cost for Central Sound vehicle crossings — Bainbridge, Kingston and Bremerton — will jump from $12.75 to $16.40 each way, then fall back to $13.15 Oct. 1. It’s the second across-the-board increase in six months.
► In today’s Seattle Times — May Day marchers to protest outside Wells Fargo downtown — Tuesday’s May Day march through the streets of Seattle will end not at Seattle Center or Westlake as in years past, but at Wells Fargo’s main downtown branch, to protest what organizers say is the bank’s courting of immigrant customers while also offering investments in jails that detain them.
► In the Bellingham Herald — Intalco needs another BPA deal soon — The Alcoa Intalco Works aluminum smelter west of Ferndale has less than a month remaining on a BPA contract that provides it with the cheap electric power it needs. The 500-employee smelter is one of Whatcom County’s largest employers.
► In today’s Columbia Basin herald — Tax breaks to benefit data centers, food processors— Two of the most important jobs producers in Grant County — data centers and food processors — will benefit from a bill recently passed by the state Legislature. Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign ESB 6635 into law this week.
‘GO GET A JOB’
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Video exchange put McKenna on hot spot (by Jim Camden) — Kendra Obom’s question was fair game, even if (Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob) McKenna didn’t like the forum in which it was asked. Beyond that, suggesting she get a job seems like a gratuitous jab that conjures up hard hats confronting anti-war protesters in the ’60s or Wall Streeters confronting Occupiers last fall. It’s also an incorrect stereotype on McKenna’s part. Obom has a job.
► In today’s Washington Post — Threat from mounting public job losses test Obama’s economic strategy — As the economic recovery has struggled to pick up speed, one of the biggest stumbling blocks has been job losses in state and local governments, which have been on the rise for much of President Obama’s term. Early on, Obama fought for aid that saved hundreds of thousands of these jobs, economists say. Yet a year later, when his economic advisers said another large round of aid was critical for the health of the economy, Obama declined to make it a key part of his agenda.
► In today’s NY Times — The economy downshifts (editorial) — The slow start for the economy in 2012 is too fragile to withstand the kinds of budget cuts that Congressional Republicans are proposing.
► In The Hill — After legislative failure, NLRB critics look to courts to end union election rule — With the rule speeding union elections set to go in effect on Monday, April 30, business lobbyists say that the failed congressional action to overturn the regulation has been only part of a multi-pronged strategy to challenge the NLRB.
► In today’s NY Times — Wal-Mart’s U.S. expansion plans complicated by bribery scandal— Wal-Mart has worked hard in recent years to polish its reputation and give elected officials, community groups and shoppers a reason to say yes to their stores, especially as it pushes aggressively into big — and historically hostile — cities. Now, the revelation of a bribery scandal involving the retailer’s Mexican subsidiary is giving critics a new reason to say no.
► From AP — Report: Rebates from health care law will top $1 billion— More than 3 million health insurance policyholders and thousands of employers will share $1.3 billion in rebates this year, thanks to President Barack Obama’s health care law, a nonpartisan research group says.
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama criticized in reversal on farm child-labor rules — The White House move to scrap a plan that would prevent some children from working in dangerous farm jobs drew sharp rebukes Friday from child-welfare advocates who claim the president caved in to election-year pressure from farmers and Republicans.
In the Halcyon Days of democracy, the unwashed masses were actually urged to vote with slogans like: “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.” Now corporations, 1 percenters and Republicans are working to ensure you don’t vote because they honestly believe you don’t count.
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.