Friday, December 14, 2012
► In today’s Seattle Times — Teamsters back on strike in Auburn against United Natural Foods — Warehouse workers and drivers went back on strike in Auburn against United Natural Foods Thursday night after company officials told union members that 72 of 163 striking workers would be permanently replaced, according to a news release from Teamsters Local 117.
ALSO today at The Stand — UNFI strike resumes after firings
► At SeattlePI.com — State to investigate SeaTac workers’ complaints — Workers at SeaTac Airport have filed complaints with the Department of Labor and Industries against four separate companies alleging health and safety violations and wage theft. The workers say the airlines are the real problem because they hired the companies in question.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle coal export hearing packed, mostly by opponents — More than 2,300 people turned out at the Washington State Convention Center to share their thoughts on a proposal to export coal through ports in the Northwest.
► At IAM 751’s blog — JBLM vehicle mechanics vote to join Machinists union — Mechanics who maintain military vehicles and related equipment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have voted by a nearly 4-to-1 margin to join the Machinists Union. The group includes heavy-duty vehicle mechanics, leads and supply technicians who work for defense contractor URS Federal Services at the base. Nearly 80% of those voting on Dec. 7 were in favor of joining IAM District Lodge 751.
► In the PSBJ — Boeing shifts gears in Renton to speed up 737 production — Boeing’s challenge at its Renton factory — adding in the new 737 Max model while raising production of all 737s to a record pace — is like rebuilding a highway while increasing the speed of cars through the construction zone.
► In today’s News Tribune — Talks include keeping Port of Tacoma’s fire station, restoring cuts — City officials are negotiating potential concessions from Tacoma’s fire union that could spare some budget cuts approved for the Fire Department over the next two years, including unpopular plans to close the city’s only fire station in the Port of Tacoma and reduce service in the Proctor district.
► In the PSBJ — Seattle 7th in nation for adding private-sector jobs — Seattle outpaced larger cities including Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. in the number of private-sector jobs that were added from October 2011 to October 2012.
► In today’s Olympian — Pay raises likely to be in Gregoire’s final budget — Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget office has ruled that a slew of labor contracts negotiated for 2013-15 are “feasible” for the state to pay, opening the door to including them in a budget plan she expects to make public Tuesday.
► At PubliCola — Conservative Democrat vows to stay with caucus — The Republicans-Plus-Two plan to draft a few more conservative Senate Democrats into their ranks (with the hope of lending the slightest bit of veracity to their claim that they’ve got a bipartisan coalition) was setback when Sen. Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam), a fiscal and social conservative, stated emphatically that he would not join the Republican cause.
► At PubliCola — The Pottery Barn rule (by Josh Feit) — Democratic state senate leader Sen. Ed Murray should respond to this week’s GOP coup with the Pottery Barn rule: You broke it, you own it. He should turn down the Republicans’ “power sharing” offer because, let’s be honest, with the Republicans controlling the Ways and Means, Health Care and Education committees and with a Republican ally, erstwhile Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom, displacing Murray as the senate majority leader, the GOP’s offer to “share” power is not genuine.
► At PubliCola — The inevitable Republican coup and its inevitable silver lining (by Brendan Williams) — We are supposed to be aghast that Tom and Sheldon formed a “bipartisan” coalition with 23 Senate Republicans in which Tom and Sheldon enjoy magnificent titles and their “fellow” Democrats are reduced to begging for scraps. But I feel optimism. I think this moment affords us the chance to sharpen the differences between parties.
► In The Hill — Obama has ‘bigger fish to fry’ than pot smokers — “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” Obama said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — It’s time for employers to rethink their marijuana, drug-testing policies (by Paul Armentano) — Programs that mandate the random testing of employees’ urine for alleged traces of drug residue are invasive and ineffective. They neither identify workers’ who may be impaired nor do they contribute to a safe work environment.
RIGHT-TO-WORK (FOR LESS)
► In the Lansing State-Journal — Right-to-work bill exempts police and fire unions — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday the exemption is meant to respect the “unique circumstance” police officers and firefighters are in because of the “dangerous nature of their work.”But critics say the exception will create class warfare among public employees and it leaves out other dangerous occupations, particularly corrections officers in the state’s prison system.
► In today’s NY Times — Workers’ paradise lost (by Thomas Sugrue) — At a moment when the voting machine has replaced the picket line as the last bastion of union strength, right-to-work advocates hope to weaken what remains of the movement’s clout. Without a strong voice representing them, Michigan workers will remain outmatched in what was already a tough defensive battle for economic security. In Michigan, it’s no longer a given that a blue-collar job is a ticket to the middle class.
► In today’s NY Times — The GOP’s existential crisis (by Paul Krugman) — We are not having a debt crisis. The U.S. government is having no trouble borrowing to cover its deficit. In fact, its borrowing costs are near historic lows. No, what we’re having is a political crisis, born of the fact that one of our two great political parties has reached the end of a 30-year road. The modern Republican Party’s grand, radical agenda lies in ruins — but the party doesn’t know how to deal with that failure, and it retains enough power to do immense damage as it strikes out in frustration.
► From AP — Night talk: Obama, Boehner meet on ‘fiscal cliff’ — Face to face with time running short, President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner negotiated at the White House on Thursday night in what aides called “frank” talks aimed at breaking a stubborn deadlock and steering the nation away from an economy-threatening “fiscal cliff.”
► At Politics — Democrats split on Medicare concessions in cliff talks — Even though Democrats are open to means-testing, they are saying no to increasing the eligibility age on Medicare; no to touching Social Security; and no to cutting into Medicaid programs that cover the poor and disabled.
► In today’s Washington Post — GOP state leaders fumble by ceding control of health exchanges to feds, critics say — The vast majority of Republican-led states, faced with a Friday deadline to submit plans for running the insurance exchanges at the heart of the law, have opted instead to relinquish much or all of their control to the federal government.
► From Reuters — NYC teachers’ pension fund to invest $1 billion in post-Sandy infrastructure — New York City’s teacher pension fund said on Thursday it will make $1 billion of new investments in infrastructure throughout the city and state as the region repairs the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
► In The Hill — Obama says he’d be considered a ‘moderate Republican’ in the 1980s — President Obama said his economic policies are “so mainstream” he’d be considered a moderate Republican in the 1980s.
► Love him or hate him (our kids are split), Macklemore, the preachy pride of Seattle, has showed the music industry bigwigs a thing or two. He shunned their efforts to sign him and has released his EPs and mixtapes independently. When he and producer Ryan Lewis released their first full-length album, The Heist, in October it shot to No. 1 on the iTunes albums chart within hours and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. This week, Macklemore and Lewis rocked Jimmy Fallon’s house with this live performance of “Thrift Shop.” Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.