► In today’s NY Times — USPS to consolidate 48 mail processing centers in summer — The United States Postal Service announced Thursday that it would begin consolidating 48 mail processing centers beginning in July, the first phase of a cost-cutting plan that is intended to save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year as it tries to adjust to declining mail volume. The agency said it would consolidate an additional 92 processing centers in February, and 89 more in early 2014.
► In today’s (Everett Herald — Everett facility remains on USPS closure list — If nothing changes and the 100-employee mail center in Everett is selected for closure this summer, the announcement would be made in the next couple of weeks. If it closes next year, the announcement would come over the summer.
► In today’s News Tribune — Update on Tacoma, Olympia mail processing plants— The Olympia mail-processing plant is still proposed to be closed in the first phase and the Tacoma plant in the second phase.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — USPS consolidations to start in May— The mail processing center in Pasco remains on the list to be consolidated with Spokane’s processing operation, but the timing is unknown.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Local labor fight hits national stage — The dispute between Noel Canning, a local beverage manufacturing plant, and Teamsters Local 760, which represents production workers, is an otherwise unremarkable employer-union disagreement. The Teamsters argue that the two parties agreed on a new contract in December 2010. Noel said there was no such agreement. In February, the NLRB sided with the Teamsters. But now, Noel Canning is suing the NLRB, arguing that the board did not have a proper quorum when it issued the ruling, as two of the three-member panel that made the ruling, were questionable recess appointments made by Obama in January.
► In The Hill — Judges halt NLRB regulations — Lawsuits have successfully shut down the only two regulations put forward by the National Labor Relations Board during the Obama administration. The NLRB has proposed two controversial rules since President Obama took office — one that would require employers to post notices explaining collective bargaining rights to workers, and another that would speed up union elections.
ALSO at The Stand — Union election fairness rule tossed on a technicality
► From AP — State workers in TV ads sue executive ethics board— Two state workers and their union (WFSE) are suing the state executive ethics board, arguing that the workers’ rights were violated when they were cited and fined for appearing on TV ads that ran during the 2011 legislative session.
► From AP — Opponents make last-ditch effort to halt state liquor law — An attorney argues before the state Supreme Court that the measure violates rules that require initiatives to address only one subject, since it includes extraneous issues such as a provision to set aside $10 million for public safety.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Gregoire pitches for schools — The governor tells the Washington Education Association convention that she will work to increase taxes to help the state meet its mandate to provide quality education.
► In today’s Olympian — Transportation revenues will shrink — but costs won’t(editorial) — Finding a solution to declining gas tax revenues won’t be easy, and public acceptance might take some time. But something needs to be done.
► At Crosscut — They couldn’t give a straight answer — At a forum for 36th District candidates jockeying to fill retiring state Rep. Dickerson’s seat, Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton was the only candidate among the five who answered “Yes” when we asked if they would have voted in favor of Republican state Sen. Joe Zarelli’s pension “reform” bill that limited state employee retirement benefits.
CORRECTION! — The author of the above-linked story says that Tarleton called to report some confusion during this forum and to clarify that she does NOT support Zarelli’s pension bill. Read the clarification at Crosscut.
► In today’s Olympian — Ex-Rep. Williams switches judicial races— Brendan Williams, the former three-term state representative, filed to run in a crowded Court of Appeals race Thursday, making an abrupt turn away from a Thurston County Superior Court seat he had been collecting cash and a slew of labor endorsements for.
► In today’s NY Times — Magnate steps into 2012 fray on wild pitch— Word that Joe Ricketts had considered bankrolling a $10 million advertising campaign linking President Obama to the incendiary race-infused statements of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., brought waves of denunciation from Mitt Romney, the Obama campaign and much of the rest of the political world.
► At HeraldNet.com — Washington delegation: Bring Boeing tankers to Fairchild AFB — After lobbying the Pentagon to award Boeing a contract for its 767-based refueling tankers, Washington’s Congressional delegation has a new request: station those tankers at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane.
► In today’s Wenatchee World — City to lay off police, fire fighters, museum staff — Mayor Frank Kuntz unveiled a budget-cutting plan Thursday that will lay off eight firefighters, three police officers and a clerk and nearly all of the museum staff by Aug. 1. He partly blamed the cuts on the unwillingness of unions to allow reductions in costly employee benefits.
► At Politico — Right infighting over health care — Conservatives jump all over Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team’s leaked game plan for dealing with President Obama’s health care law. Their gripe? Republicans would try to replicate popular parts of Obama’s health care law if the Supreme Court overturns the law this summer.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As we noted yesterday, too many right-wing Republicans in Congress support the legal challenge — championed by Washington’s own Rob McKenna — which calls for total repeal. If successful, they have no intention of voting to reinstate any of it, including popular provisions like allowing coverage of children up to age 25, covering pre-existing conditions, and banning caps on coverage. Conservative ideologues like McKenna consider these to be “mandates” on insurance companies and they want them eliminated entirely.
► At Politico — GOP rookies buck Grover Norquist— A small but increasingly vocal group of freshman Republicans are publicly rejecting the idea they are beholden to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform pledge for their entire congressional careers.
► For this week’s T.G.I.F., the star of the of the cinema classic Thank God It’s Friday, Donna Summer (1948-2012). R.I.P., Queen of Disco.
Have a great weekend — brought to you by the Labor Movement.
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.