► In today’s Seattle Times — Hostess warns 250 employees in state of possible layoffs — The maker of Twinkies and Wonder bread is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and trying to renegotiate its contracts with the Teamsters and bakery workers unions. Similar layoff warning notices went out to the company’s nationwide workforce of more than 18,000.
ALSO at Huffington Post (April 16) — Hostess, Teamsters square off in bankruptcy battle
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Union replaces ‘welcome’ sign — The longshore union has replaced a vandalized billboard at the gateway to Longview on Tennant Way. The ILWU Local 21 changed the design of sign, which was put up Tuesday, to reflect its gratitude to the community, union officials said.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima school unions press for public support in talks — Working without a contract for more than eight months, members of five Yakima School District unions are putting public pressure on administrators to agree to more of their terms in contract negotiations.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Two more SLU office buildings proposed — Walsh Construction and Vulcan Real Estate have applied to put up office buildings at the periphery of Amazon’s new 1.7 million-square-foot headquarters complex.
► In today’s Oregonian — Tri-Met Lift operators in Portland strike over wages — Drivers on TriMet’s door-to-door Lift service for the disabled and frail elderly people are on strike Wednesday morning over a long-simmering labor dispute with the company contracted to operate the buses.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — State seeks wide-ranging review of all coal terminals in NW, including Cherry Point— The Department of Ecology has requested a regional review of as many as six coal terminal projects that could be built in Washington and Oregon. The agency’s position came in a comment on an application for a coal export facility in Port of Morrow, Ore., south of Kennewick. Ecology asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a “hard look” at combined impacts such as increased rail traffic, coal dust and diesel pollution.
► At PubliCola — Touched a nerve — Not a single Republican got a WSLC endorsement this year. Labor typically endorses a few GOPers — such as Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) and former Reps. Shirley Hankins and Larry Haler of the Tri-Cities, Rep. Tom Campbell of Roy. (We) evidently touched a nerve talking to WSLC spokesman David Groves about this. He sent a follow-up email elaborating:
Republican Party has launched an all-out assault on unions in recent years. Every GOP presidential candidate has endorsed so-called “right-to-work” laws. And it’s pretty clear that the people funding that party, like the Koch Brothers, are pushing to eliminate collective bargaining rights as part of their agenda. I think that has hardened conservative union members against a party they might have previously supported for fiscal/social reasons before. In this state, moderate Republicans no longer exist.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Actually, not a single Republican incumbent got endorsed. Republican Scott Nettles was endorsed in his 16th LD race against incumbent GOP Sen. Mike Hewitt, and Republican Bob Parks was endorsed in his 8th LD House race.
► Got a question for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna?
► At AFL-CIO Now — House Dems, Senate agree on Export-Import bank bill — House Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank through 2014. Its charter is due to expire May 31. The bank provides loan guarantees to corporations exporting goods and services to foreign countries. The AFL-CIO, Machinists, Air Line Pilots and the IFPTE are among the unions supporting the agreement.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Air Force: Boeing KC-46A on track — The Boeing Co. is on track to deliver aerial-refueling tankers to the U.S. Air Force, having recently met another milestone on the program.
► From Reuters — Air India cancels flights as 100 pilots call in ‘sick’ — Air India has cancelled four international flights after about a 100 pilots called in “sick” late on Monday, in a move to mount pressure on the state-run carrier on their demands for exclusivity in flying Boeing’s Dreamliner.
► At Huffington Post — Support for war in Afghanistan falls to new low — Support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a new low, with only 27% of Americans saying they back the effort and about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good, according to an AP-GfK poll.
► From AP — Postal Service says it will keep rural post offices open — The struggling U.S. Postal Service is trying to tamp down concern over its wide-scale cuts, saying it will seek to keep hundreds of rural post offices open with shorter hours.
► At AFL-CIO Now — OSHA warns Hyatt on housekeeper injuries — OSHA has told Hyatt Hotels what the hotel chain’s housekeepers have been telling it for years–“Hyatt Hurts.” The federal agency issued a formal Hazard Alert letter telling Hyatt that its housekeepers face ergonomic risks every day on the job. The letter outlines steps Hyatt can take to reduce housekeeper injuries.
ALSO at The Stand — Workers organizing at Seattle’s Hyatt Olive 8
► At AFL-CIO Now — Sen. Harkin demands that Romney mole resign from NLRB — Mitt Romney’s “mole” inside the NLRB has “undermined the enforcement of laws enacted by Congress…demonstrated a fundamental lack of integrity…and breached numerous standards of ethical conduct” by funneling confidential NLRB information to the Romney campaign’s chief labor adviser, says Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
► In today’s NY Times — Wisconsin Democrats choose challenger to run against Scott Walker — Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, got the nod from his party after a statewide primary, beating a fellow Democrat, Kathleen Falk, a former Dane County executive who had been seen by some as labor’s preferred candidate.
► In today’s NY Times — Senate Republicans block bill on student loan rates
CONNECT THE DOTS
► At AFL-CIO Now — This deficit story can’t be repeated often enough — Any time any D.C. elite complains about “the deficit” remind them that when Clinton left office we had a huge surplus, so big that at the rate it was being paid down the entire U.S. debt was going to be paid off in 10 years. Bush demanded that we give back the people’s money and Greenspan warned of the danger of paying off the debt. Etc. Etc. Etc. Then Bush doubled military spending — and started two wars on top of that!
So we went from big surplus to huge, huge deficits. Bush said it was “incredibly positive news” when we went back into deficit spending. He said it was good news because it continued the plan to use debt to force the government to cut back. The Reagan people said it, too, back when they started the massive deficit spending. It was the plan: force the country into massive debt, “starve the beast” and use that to force the government out of business, or at least to be “small enough to drown in a bathtub.”
► The GOP is also drowning JOBS in the bathtub… At TPM — What government job cuts have done to the unemployment rate — President Obama has been hobbled by public-sector layoffs during this crisis in a way his predecessor George W. Bush never was back in 2001. Where the federal government stepped up to prevent states and municipalities from laying off teachers and other government workers in previous recessions, it’s fallen on its face under Obama.
► And despite all this… at Huffington Post — Job creation under Democratic presidents roughly double that of GOP, report finds — Since John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1961, job growth under Democratic presidents has outnumbered that under Republicans by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, according to a Bloomberg analysis. During that period, non-government payrolls grew by almost 42 million jobs under Democratic presidents, compared to 24 million when a Republican party member was in power.
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.