Friday, January 18, 2013
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — SPEEA to recommend rejection of ‘final’ Boeing offer — The union representing Boeing engineers and technical workers will urge members reject what the company called a final contract offer and will ask members to give union leaders authority to call a strike. The union was making plans late Thursday to put the contract up for a vote, likely by early February. With Boeing and SPEEA at odds over a company-proposed two-tier pension, the union also will seek authority from members to call a strike. If SPEEA members approve concur, SPEEA would give Boeing an opportunity to change its mind on the pension issue before calling a work stoppage.
ALSO TODAY at the Stand — Boeing rejects SPEEA offer, targets pensions
► Yesterday at SeattleTimes.com — SPEEA’s difficult choice amid crisis (by Jon Talton) — Boeing should accept SPEEA’s offer to extend the current contract so everyone can be focused on addressing the Dreamliner crisis. But what if Chicago refuses? Union engineers face a tough choice: Accept a substandard contract or strike. If it’s a strike, tell me how this ends?
EDITOR’S NOTE — Well? Tell him.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing scrambles to find fix so planes can fly — Boeing is proposing “a complete health check” on each lithium-ion battery in its grounded fleet of 787s as it holds intensive talks with FAA officials in an effort to get its planes flying again soon.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing to keep building 787s as battery fix sought — Boeing plans to keep building its flagship jetliner while engineers try to solve battery problems that have grounded most of the 787 fleet.
► At Politico — Boeing reaches out to Hill allies — Boeing has powerful allies in the Obama administration and on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, sending millions of dollars each year to lawmakers’ campaign coffers and employing thousands of people at plants in Washington state and South Carolina. Those ties could come into play as lawmakers weigh whether to launch investigations into the Dreamliner’s troubles and the updated certification process the FAA created for the state-of-the-art planes.
► From AP — 787 woes spotlight Japanese battery maker — The 787 relies far more than older aircraft on electrical systems, and troubles with the batteries could pose a challenge to GS Yuasa’s aerospace aspirations.
► In today’s NY Times — Praised but fire-prone battery fails test in 787 — Powerful and lightweight, lithium-ion batteries are the perfect power source for modern gadgets. But ubiquitous as they are, their short history has also been fraught with problems — they have caught fire in cellphones, laptop computers and electric cars, and even destroyed a small Navy submarine.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Navy-wide hiring freeze hits shipyard — The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility postponed a career fair scheduled for later this month because it can’t hire anybody. The Navy issued a hiring freeze until Congress takes action on its budget. The Navy is cutting costs by freezing civilian hiring; terminating temporary workers except those supporting mission-critical programs; delaying ship decommissionings; and curtailing travel, training, conferences and spending on supplies and base operations. There also is the potential for civilian furloughs.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Congressional Republicans: Our fragile economy cannot afford to keep lurching from one Republican debt-ceiling hostage crisis to another. Stop tanking our markets and killing jobs with your threats to default on America’s commitments and shut down the government. Pay your bills! That’s the bare minimum of responsibility and competence we expect from Congress.
► In today’s Ellensburg Daily Record — Nurses association pickets KVCH — The Washington State Nurses Association conducted an informational picket outside of Kittitas Valley Community Hospital on Thursday afternoon to raise awareness about its contract negotiations with the hospital. The hospital and the WSNA have been negotiating a new contract for more than a year.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Inslee wants coal ports, trains studied — State and federal agencies studying potential impacts of a new coal terminal near Bellingham must consider the increased train traffic in Spokane and other cities around the state, Inslee said Thursday.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee says extending taxes not an increase — He rejects the idea that by continuing a tax on beer and a surcharge in the B&O tax for certain services that he is violating a campaign pledge to not increase taxes.
EDITOR’S NOTE — And of course, the go-to business-funded think tank set up to oppose Big Gov’mint — which all Capitol reporters have on speed-dial for comment — disagrees with the governor. Not exactly “man bites dog.”
► In The Columbian — Benton, Rivers propose anti-light rail bill — State Sens. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and Ann Rivers (R-La Center) proposed blocking the design or construction of a new Columbia River Crossing as long as that project includes a light rail line.
► At theOlympian.com — Sen. Kline wants response to Citizens United — The Seattle Democrat says his long-shot effort is meant to show support for congressional action that would give power back to states and Congress to regulate the role of money in politics.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Gig Harbor doctor picked to replace Kilmer in Senate — Emergency room physician Nathan Schlicher will occupy the state Senate seat for the rest of the year; in November, there will be an election to determine who holds it for the final year of the term to which Kilmer was in 2010. Republican Jan Angel has said she plans to run for the Senate seat.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 3 candidates emerge to replace Delvin in Senate — Reps. Larry Haler and Brad Klippert and Kennewick Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Brown topped local Republicans’ list of potential replacements for Jerome Delvin.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Roach praises herself, scolds press, announces book in rambling news conference — “I have never mistreated anyone,” Sen. Pam Roach said, blaming the allegations on a “long, drawn-out campaign to ruin my good name” by her Senate Republican colleagues.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Tell Reid it’s time to end the ‘silent’ filibuster — While activists are delivering tens of thousands of letters to their senators on Capitol Hill urging them to stop the misuse and abuse of the Senate filibuster, you can, too, by calling 1-866-937-5062 and telling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) to publicly support strong rules reform by co-sponsoring Senate Resolution 4.
ALSO at The Stand — Momentum grows to ‘Fix the Senate Now!’
► In today’s NY Times — Republicans may offer short-term extension of borrowing limit — Though a short-term extension might be seen as a momentary surrender, it could tie the debt topic into discussions about across-the-board military and domestic spending cuts set to hit March 1 and the expiration on March 27 of a stopgap law financing the government. Republicans say the timing could give them more room to fight for cuts.
► In today’s NY Times — The dwindling deficit (by Paul Krugman) — The budget deficit isn’t our biggest problem. Not by a long shot. In fact, to a large degree, it’s mostly solved. Neither the current deficit nor projected future spending deserve to be anywhere near the top of our political agenda. It’s time to focus on other stuff — like the still-depressed state of the economy and the still-terrible problem of long-term unemployment.
► At Politico — Obama Jobs Council hasn’t met in a year — The 26-member panel (of mostly corporate executives) is also set to expire at the end of the month.
EDITOR’S NOTE — What have they been doing instead? Next story…
► At EOI’s Washington Policy Watch — Wealthy corporate CEOs want Social Security, Medicare on chopping block — The Business Roundtable represents 200 of our country’s top CEOs, and they’ve recently unveiled their plan for tackling the federal deficit: raise the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 70, and the age for Medicare from 65 to 70. The insular arrogance of that idea is, frankly, hard to stomach.
► In today’s Washington Post — Can Oregon save American health care? — Oregon is pursuing the Holy Grail in health-care policy: slower cost growth. If it succeeds, it could set a course for the rest of the country at a pivotal moment for the Affordable Care Act.
► In today’s LA Times — Whole Foods CEO regrets comparing Obamacare to ‘fascism’ — John Mackey’s mea culpa came amid a surge of criticism after he said that Obama’s policies are “technically speaking… more like fascism” instead of socialism.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Upper Big Branch superintendent sentenced — A mine superintendent at the former Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) mine, where 29 coal miners were killed in 2010, will serve 21 months in prison for his role in disabling a methane monitor.
► At PRWatch.org — FreedomWorks putting its war chest to work for ALEC’s anti-union agenda in the states — The Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks is gearing up to direct its sizeable war chest towards advancing anti-union initiatives in the states, supporting an agenda set by groups like David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council. This strongly suggests that the battle for the future of private and public sector unions in America is beginning a new phase of combat. FreedomWorks just announced “an aggressive grassroots, state-based campaign” for 2013 to “push back against domineering unions.” The group has been in turmoil in recent months with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey abruptly resigning after the 2012 elections, in part because of concerns about the ethics of FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe. In the aftermath of Obama’s strong showing in battleground states where union members turned out in large numbers against Romney, Kibbe is apparently prioritizing anti-union advocacy.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Could it possibly be more clear that ongoing efforts to destroy unions, which are shrouded in rhetoric about protecting workers’ rights, are driven by partisan political efforts to silence the opposition?
► Today is a sad day for the entire staff of The Stand. Our favorite record store, Easy Street Records in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, is closing to make room for another Chase Bank. We have spent many a lunch break browsing the records and CDs at this independent retailer. And we attended quite a few of their live in-store performances, including this one by one of our favorite bands, Guster.
Farewell, Easy Street. You will be missed.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.