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This is sequester, SPEEA charges, who gets H-1Bs visas, Sir Duke…

Friday, February 15, 2013




fiscal-cliff► In today’s Huffington Post — Sequester state of play: Real negotiation won’t happen until it hits — High level sources on Capitol Hill expect the sequester to happen at this point. Some leading Republicans have said this. But Hill aides also say they expect, essentially, two failed votes and then a possible negotiation after the impact of the sequester is actually felt. The two votes would come the week after next. Congress is out on recess next week, and will have four days when they come back before the sequester hits on March 1.

► In today’s NY Times — Senate Democrats offer proposal to head off automatic cuts — Senate Democratic leaders reached agreement Thursday on a $110 billion mix of tax increases and spending cuts to head off automatic spending cuts through the end of the year. But with even some Democrats tepid on the proposal, the chances of a deal before the March 1 deadline have receded.




federal-furloughs► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Pentagon steps closer to furloughing civilian workers — The Pentagon will notify Congress on Friday that it will furlough civilian workers, including tens of thousands in Kitsap County, unless the budget crisis is resolved. Congress requires a 45-day notification period and civilian workers normally receive 30 days’ notice of the intent to furlough.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — At Hanford, 1,000 workers could face 6 weeks unpaid time if cuts happen — Hanford would place more than 1,000 workers on unpaid leave for about six weeks if the automatic federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” occur March 1, according to a report by the House Appropriations Committee Democrats. Hanford has close to 9,000 workers.

► Previously at NY Times — A million jobs at stake (editorial) — With enormous struggle, the sluggish economy managed to create 2.2 million jobs last year. But beginning at the end of this month, at least half that amount — more than a million jobs — will start to disappear because of a mindless government austerity program that no one in Washington seems able to stop.




SPEEA-12► In today’s News Tribune — SPEEA files charges against Boeing — The union representing Boeing’s engineers and technical workers alleged this week that the company is illegally banning employees from passing out union leaflets at the company’s Everett plant and unlawfully requiring workers’ mandatory meetings about an ongoing vote on a contract proposal.

ALSO in The Stand — SPEEA files new ULPs alleging Boeing intimidation on contract vote

► At IAM 751 blog — Analyst: Competitors little threat to Boeing, Airbus — The obstacles facing newcomers in the aerospace industry are so great that new competitors have little chance of seriously challenging the Boeing and Airbus in the next decade, a noted industry analyst said. Boeing executives have stressed the need to remain competitive as they tried to justify cutting retirement benefits for engineers and technicians belonging to SPEEA.

► In the PSBJ — 787 battery lags behind evolving lithium-ion technology — As the grounding of Boeing’s 787 fleet stretches into its second month, the planemaker faces a painful paradox — its most advanced jetliner relies on batteries that are in many ways outdated.

► In today’s Washington Post — Airbus to drop lithium-ion batteries for A350 due to regulatory concerns — Airbus abandoned its plans to use lithium-ion batteries for its new A350 airplanes due to the uncertainty surrounding the technology following the grounding of Boeing’s 787, the company said.

► From Bloomberg — Merged airlines affirm order for Boeing, Airbus orders to refresh fleet — American Airlines and US Airways said Thursday they will follow through on orders for new planes from Boeing and Airbus.




harper-nick► In the (Everett) Herald — Supporting education means more than just schools (by Sen. Nick Harper) — Many in the Senate’s new Republican majority believe we can fully fund K-12 by simply cutting everything else. I disagree with this narrow, shortsighted approach. We need to educate our kids, for sure — but not at the expense of programs for seniors, health care for kids, or food assistance for hungry families. Everything in the budget is linked together; cutting one program has a direct impact on another.

► In today’s News Tribune — Republican ‘reforms’ distract from meaningful education changes (by Sens. Christine Rolfes and Andy Billig) — Talk is cheaper than following through. The truth is that delaying education reforms we know will work to discuss ideas like changing the labels on our measurements is nonsense. It is like firefighters debating whether they should paint the truck a different color while the house burns behind them.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Bill would extend signature gathering time on initiatives — As state law enforcement officials began investigating more than 8,000 allegedly forged signatures for a pair of ballot measures, a legislative panel looked at changes to the initiative process — the century-old avenue for grass-roots democracy.




► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Wyoming coal company strikes export deal to use Cherry Point terminal — A Wyoming mining company has signed an option agreement allowing it to ship up to 16 million tons of coal a year through Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point — if that project can get the regulatory approvals it needs.




► At TPM — Labor, business groups deny immigration talks collapsing — Ask top GOP or Democratic lawmakers what their biggest fear is for immigration reform, and they’ll likely describe an apocalyptic war between labor and big business over guest workers. With negotiations between the two interest groups slow and rumors trickling out of such a scenario emerging, leaders from both sides moved Thursday to tamp down rumors that their talks had collapsed.

► From McClatchy — As VA struggles, delays and errors greet returning warriors — The processing time for disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs worsened in a majority of its regional offices last year, and the VA has struggled with its much-anticipated plan to correct its problems, according to two recent audits and a review of department data. The result for veterans is longer waits — often for disability decisions that are incorrect.

► In today’s NY Times — Rubio and the Zombies (by Paul Krugman) — Here we are, more than five years into the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, and one of our two great political parties has seen its economic doctrine crash and burn twice: first in the run-up to crisis, then again in the aftermath. Yet that party has learned nothing; it apparently believes that all will be well if it just keeps repeating the old slogans, but louder. It’s a disturbing picture, and one that bodes ill for our nation’s future.




H-1B_layoffs► In today’s Seattle Times — Report: Most H1-B visas for outsourcers — With Congress considering Microsoft’s pitch to enlarge the tech visa program, Computerworld sifted through the list of H1-B visa recipients over the last two years. It turns out the biggest visa users aren’t U.S. tech companies desperate to fill crucial jobs. Instead, the largest users of the program by a wide margin have been outsourcing companies such as Cognizant, Tata, Infosys and Wipro. The data raises questions about whether additional H1-B visas really will benefit job creation at U.S. companies. Will it instead lead to an expansion of U.S. companies outsourcing their technology work to contractors?

► At AFLCIO Now — Flight Attendants join fight for fairness at Hyatt — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA joined with hotel workers for a rally demanding that Hyatt Hotels change a host of practices that the Hyatt Hurts campaign touts as the worst in the United States.




► When Duke Ellington offered a job to composer Billy Strayhorn and gave him money to travel to New York City, Ellington wrote directions to get to his house that began, “Take the A Train.” Strayhorn later wrote this jazz standard, and on this day (Feb. 15) in 1941, Duke Ellington and his orchestra first recorded what would become their signature song.

The entire staff of The Stand presents… Sir Duke!


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