Tuesday, July 3, 2012
► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Hospital union organizers say they’re ready to vote — A noncontract employees union forming at Skagit Valley Hospital reached a milestone Friday as supporters delivered notice to the hospital’s administration that a majority of the approximately 900 potential members have signed cards, allowing the union to go to a vote. Nearly two dozen workers interested in creating the union under the UFCW Local 21 gathered to deliver the official notice to the Human Resources Department.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Still unclear whether ILWU president will face new trial — The attorney for ILWU President Robert McEllrath on Monday said the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office has not informed him whether his client will be put on trial again after a jury could not reach a verdict last week.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — U.S. Trade official to speak at EGT grand opening ceremony — The company is holding a grand opening ceremony 10:30 a.m. Monday for community and business leaders. The keynote speaker will be Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, the chief agricultural negotiator for the USTR office.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Summer work under way at Tri-City schools— Tri-City schools might not be in session, but the sounds of electricians, carpenters and other workers can be heard echoing through their halls.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima Council OKs 2-year contract for firefighters— The 78 firefighters represented by the union will receive a 4% increase in base pay for 2012 and a 1% increase in 2013.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Well-funded charter schools initiative has nearly enough signatures to make ballot — Supporters of allowing charter schools in Washington state have raised nearly $2 million from a handful of high-profile donors and say they are poised to submit the needed 241,153 valid signatures by the Friday deadline.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Health insurance surplus more than enough for now — Within a span of two weeks, it was announced that Regence BlueShield had a surplus of more than $1 billion, and then it requested an increase on rates at an average of 14.7% for Washington residents who buy their own health insurance. So, the company has a huge surplus — far greater than required — but it’s asking for a exorbitant increase in rates? And for one of the most hard-hit groups — people who buy their own coverage for themselves and their families. It is appalling.
► At Crosscut — Washington insurer threatens to buck ACA on drug coverage — The health reform act will require coverage of all drugs beginning in 2014, but Washington’s insurance commissioner and the state’s largest insurance companies are facing off over a move to eliminate drug coverage entirely under one Premera Blue Cross plan.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing projects demand for 34,000 jets over 20 years — Boeing estimates the world’s airlines will need 34,000 aircraft over the next two decades due to strong demand from countries like China and India.
► From Reuters — U.S. unions disappointed with Airbus Alabama location — U.S. labor groups said they were disappointed with Airbus’ decision to build its first U.S. plant in Alabama, where it is effectively impossible to form a powerful union, and warned non-union work could drive down wages across the board in one of the last bastions of U.S. manufacturing.
► From AP — Airbus seeks economic, political edge by building U.S. factory — Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said cost savings were not the main goal for the Alabama plant, but added, “Clearly we selected a competitive environment and we are businessmen, so we don’t go to the worst place.”
► In Vanity Fair — Where the money lives — For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. We delve into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.
► At Huffington Post — Romney’s Independence Day advice: Buy Foreign (by USW President Leo Gerard) — Americans naturally think the patriotic choice would be to buy American. But for Romney, capitalism trumps patriotism. Romney goes where the money is. He made big bucks as CEO of Bain Capital by investing in a series of companies that specialized in shipping American jobs off shore. For him, it’s fine to kill an American job as long as he can make a buck on it.
► In the ABA Journal — High court’s union dues case may change political landscape — Amid the blockbuster decisions of the last two weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, a decision that received little media attention is likely to have a major political impact on public employee unions… Both Knox and Citizens United came to the court posing very narrow questions. In both instances, the five conservative justices on their own substantially broadened the issues and significantly changed the law. Together, they are very much changing the political process in the United States, greatly increasing the influence of corporations and diminishing the influence of unions.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Where are all the conservatives who complain about “activist judges” who legislate from the bench?
► From NewsMax — Democrats take control of Senate in Wisconsin— A two-week recount of a disputed state Senate recall election held on the same day as the Walker vote showed that former state Senator Democrat John Lehman defeated incumbent Republican Senator Van Wanggaard by 819 votes, or 1 percent.
► At WINKnews.com — Noisy union members gather outside NY utility’s HQ — With the heat pressing down on New Yorkers, pressure is mounting from all sides to resolve a Consolidated Edison lockout that left workers off their jobs while managers are keeping the electrical power going.
► In today’s Milwaukee J-S — Protesters deliver petitions to Palermo Villa — After one month on strike, Palermo Villa workers and their allies delivered petitions in pizza boxes to the company’s facility to protest what they say are unfair labor practices and unsafe working conditions at the frozen pizza manufacturing plant.
► For this bonus Tuesday edition of T.G.I.F., the entire staff of The Stand presents “Happy Anniversary” by Little River Band, dedicated to our lovely wife of 19 years as of today.
Say what you want about this band’s sleeveless pajama shirts, Ben Franklin hairstyles, Sally Jesse Raphael glasses and their embarrassing catalog of cheesy love songs, but this one has a cool bass line, some quality lead guitar solos, harmonies performed well live, and is the only song we could think of called “Happy Anniversary.” (We ask our wife to ignore the fact that the protagonist in the song is spending his anniversary lamenting that his wife/spouse left him for another man/website staff. This is all about the song title.)
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m., UNLESS that weekday morning is July 4, when the entire staff of The Stand will be celebrating our nation’s birthday, or July 5 when we will be recovering from celebrating our nation’s birthday. Next update: Friday, July 6.