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Aramark union win, tight Walker race, Mitt’s fudge…

Monday, June 4, 2012




► In the Bellingham Herald — Aramark workers at WWU vote to join union— Dining workers at Western Washington University employed by Aramark voted to unionize with SEIU Local 925. About 105 full-time and part-time employees will be part of the union.

► In today’s News Tribune — Better days for Port of Tacoma workers — For 66 longshore workers, last Thursday’s ceremony inducting them into Longshore Local 23 as full-fledged “A”-level workers was both a right of passage and a tangible sign that the lean times that the Port of Tacoma and the union have endured for four years are finally fading.

► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Business heats up at Port of Skagit with new projects — The Port of Skagit approved three major projects Friday, promising to brings hundreds of local family-wage jobs jobs to the region over the next few years.




► In Sunday’s Spokesman-Review — Uninsured population projected to grow without law — Washington’s top insurance officials warned last week that undoing federal health care reforms will exacerbate the financial problems tied to growing numbers of uninsured residents. More than 1 million residents now lack health care coverage in the state. The number will grow to 1.1 million in 2013 if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down reform, according to a report released by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

ALSO at The Stand — ACA ruling: health benefits hang in the balance

► From AP — $1.5M grant to help laid-off Washington employees (brief) — The Labor Department grant will help about 520 workers laid off from Washington state agencies, including workers from state liquor stores that have been closed as well as workers that have been released at state prisons and other agencies because of spending cuts. The money will pay for training and support services to help the workers find new jobs.

► In the Seattle Times — Could court ruling on tax-limiting I-1053 lead to a constitutional amendment? — State Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry (R-Moses Lake) says she plans to propose a constitutional amendment when the Legislature convenes in January to make the two-thirds rule permanent.

► In the Seattle Times — Rural teachers deserve equal pay in Washington state (Centralia principal Neil Kirby) — Equal state salary funding for teachers in the poorest districts is a simple matter of fairness to the taxpayers, the students and the teachers. The Compensation Technical Working Group should reject regional salary funding based on cost of living.




► From Reuters — Activists converge on Wisconsin for historic recall vote — Political activists converge on Wisconsin to join get-out-the-vote efforts before Tuesday’s historic recall election for Republican Governor Scott Walker that is seen as a test for November’s presidential race.

► At TPM — Down to the wire: Walker’s lead narrows — The final survey of the Wisconsin recall from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows Republican Gov. Scott Walker narrowly ahead — but it also gives Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a narrow chance for an upset win, if Dems turn out to vote on Tuesday.

► In the Milwaukee J-S — Walker’s jobs record an unmitigated disaster (by Mark Levine) — The most recent monthly “year-over-year” data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that employment shrank by 21,400 in Wisconsin between April 2011 and April 2012 — a period that coincides with the first full year after passage of Walker’s budget legislation. This “job creation” performance, a decline of 0.8%, places Wisconsin dead last among the 50 states in job growth during this period.




► In today’s Olympian — Governor hopefuls differ on same-sex marriage, other issues— Republican Rob McKenna said that he will vote no on Referendum 74 if it qualifies, as expected, for the ballot; his Democratic opponent, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, will vote yes to uphold the law.

► In today’s Washington Post — Mitt Romney’s inaccurate claims about government workers — Romney decries that there are “145,000 more government workers” under President Obama. In truth, the number of government workers overall has dramatically declined under Obama. If Romney is referring to federal workers only, the number is accurate, but only because that increase is almost entirely attributable to Defense (80,000 additional jobs), Veterans Affairs (38,000) and Homeland Security (20,000) — all of which are areas that Romney says he wants to bolster as president. Presumably he would think such increases are a good thing — not jobs he would want to eliminate.

► In The Onion — Ann Romney says husband has deeply principled side nobody ever sees in public — “Sure, on TV, Mitt might seem like a shameless opportunist who stands for absolutely nothing, but at home he’s actually just an ordinary guy with a decent sense of morality,” Ann Romney said of her partner of 43 years. “I’ve known this man almost my whole life, and I can tell you that, off camera, there are just so many things he cares about in a completely non-politically-motivated way.”




► In the NY Times — Painkillers add costs, delays to workplace injuries — Workplace insurers are facing a fast-growing cost in payouts to workers with routine injuries who have been treated with strong painkillers, including many who do not return to work for months, if ever.

► In today’s Washington Post — Senate to vote on women’s pay bill — Senate Republicans have said they will vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that Democrats say would further protect women fighting for higher salaries.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Hilton Boston workers persist to form union — Persistence in the face of management roadblocks resulted in a successful effort to unionize for 75 housekeepers, front desk attendants and others at the Hilton Boston Downtown.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Social Security proposals spell hardship for older workers — A new study finds that hardships for older workers due to proposed Social Security cuts would be significant — and that the “just work longer to make up the difference” argument doesn’t hold up.

► Today from AP — Wal-Mart proxy vote shows dissent among shareholders— Wal-Mart’s final shareholder vote for its board of directors shows some dissent against key executives and board members, including CEO Mike Duke, in the wake of allegations of bribery in Mexico.




► In today’s NY Times — This Republican economy (by Paul Krugman) — The Republican electoral strategy is, in effect, a gigantic con game: it depends on convincing voters that the bad economy is the result of big-spending policies that President Obama hasn’t followed (in large part because the G.O.P. wouldn’t let him), and that our woes can be cured by pursuing more of the same policies that have already failed. For some reason, however, neither the press nor Obama’s political team has done a very good job of exposing the con.


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