Paid Sick Days bill, bear market for workers, McGuest workers…

Thursday, March 7, 2013




► At Washington Policy Watch — Paid Sick and Safe Days bill clears last committee before full House vote — The bill would allow workers in businesses with 5 or more employees to earn paid sick time to be used when the worker is sick, to care for an ill family member, or to deal with the effects of domestic violence. It may also be used for preventive care, which will keep workers and their families healthier. The bill is similar to Seattle’s paid sick and safe days ordinance, which was supported by a large coalition of small business owners and community organizations.

► In today’s Olympian — Senate OKs grades for schools, teacher rejection by principals — The plans, backed by the Senate’s Republican-led majority coalition, faced strong opposition from minority Democrats, who said they failed to address the pressing issue of how to improve funding for public schools.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Yes on Washington Voting Rights Act (editorial) — HB 1413, sponsored by Rep. Luis Moscoso (D- Mountlake Terrace) will allow classes of voters to challenge at-large voting if, combined with a pattern of racial polarization, there is evidence that minority populations are elbowed out. If the evidence is compelling, then a more-representative district-based system is established. It’s bracingly fair. And democratic.

► From AP — Washington bill would require justices to draw straws for job — A Republican Senate bill seeks to cut the state Supreme Court by four justices, requiring the current nine justices to draw straws to see who keeps their job. Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) insists it’s a serious bill.




► In today’s Seattle Times — State unemployment rate holds steady as job growth surprises — Preliminary figures show that Washington gained an unexpectedly strong 24,100 payroll jobs in January, but state economists are skeptical job growth was really that strong. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January held steady at 7.5%.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Governor, DOE want to send some Hanford tank waste to NM — A proposal to send some of Hanford’s tank waste to the nation’s repository for transuranic waste is a first step to address aging, underground tanks that are leaking radioactive waste into the ground, Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — T-Mobile cutting jobs at Bellevue HQ before merger — Layoffs could top 100 in marketing and other groups, insiders say, as the wireless company prepares to unite with Dallas-based MetroPCS.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Gay-rights movement’s new focus: immigration — While gay-rights organizations in the past have been involved in the long-debated effort to fix the nation’s immigration laws, the intensity of their engagement on all levels this year is unprecedented.




► In today’s NY Times — Boeing plan to test 787 fixes nears approval — The FAA is close to approving tests of Boeing’s approach to fixing the batteries on its 787 jets, and the tests could begin next week, federal and industry officials say.

► In today’s Seattle Times — NTSB report on 787 coming today — The federal agency will issue an interim report Thursday on the lithium ion battery fire in January aboard a parked 787 at Logan Airport in Boston.




► At — Why there’s a bull market for stocks and a bear market for workers — The health of an economy is not measured by the profits of corporations headquartered within it or the value of its stock market. It depends, rather, on how many of people have jobs and whether those jobs pay decent wages. By this measure, we are a long way from economic health. Rarely before in American history have public policies so blatantly helped the most fortunate among us, so cruelly harmed the least fortunate, and exposed so many average working Americans to such widespread insecurity.

► In the Seattle Times — The Dow and our Great Divergence (by Jon Talton) — The Dow hit a new record on Tuesday. Meanwhile, unemployment remains stubbornly high, middle-class wealth is devastated from the housing crash and years of stagnant wages, while economic mobility is largely stuck. Political paralysis makes it impossible to engage in the stimulus, especially infrastructure spending, that would help. Instead, we’re doing austerity, which has failed across Europe.

ALSO at The Stand — Austerity cuts aren’t working, except for America’s top 1% (by D. Nolan Groves)




► At The Hill — House passes bill to avert government shutdown in March — The House on Wednesday approved legislation that would avert a government shutdown in a 267-151 vote, despite opposition from Democrats who complained that the measure locks in the $85 billion sequester.

► In today’s Washington Post — Congress won’t face pay cut in sequester — U.S. lawmakers won’t have their $174,000 salaries affected by across-the-board government spending cuts going into effect this month, but there’s little clarity about how the bank accounts of senators and representatives were spared in the so-called sequester.

► In today’s Washington Post — House funding bill would require Saturday delivery — A House bill approved Wednesday to fund the government through September would require the Postal Service to continue delivering mail on Saturdays for the remainder of the fiscal year.

► In today’s NY Times — House GOP plans a budget that retains tax increases, Medicare cuts — House Republicans will preserve Medicare cuts that their presidential nominee loudly denounced last year and accept tax increases they sternly opposed just months ago in a new tax-and-spending blueprint that would bring the federal budget into balance by 2023, senior Republicans say.

► In today’s Washington Post — Paul Ryan, Patty Murray hold keys to any budget deal — After two years of anxious, high-wire negotiations over the federal budget, an exhausted Washington is about to hand the mess back over to the experts: the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees.




► In The Nation — McDonald’s guest workers stage surprise strike — Alleging unpaid wages and repeated retaliation, McDonald’s workers in central Pennsylvania launched a surprise strike at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The strikers are student guest workers from Latin America and Asia, brought to the United States under the controversial J-1 cultural exchange visa program. Their employer is one of the thousands of McDonald’s franchisees with whom the company contracts to run its ubiquitous stores.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Why immigration is a top priority for U.S. labor — As recently as the mid-1990s, many unions took protectionist stances against allowing new immigrants to come to this country. Today, labor is one of the key forces pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, D.C. Maria Elena Durazo explains why.

► In today’s NY Times — A big new power (by Linda Greenhouse) — The Supreme Court appears ready to eviscerate the Voting Rights Act — and seriously harm itself in the process.




► In today’s Washington Post — Steering America toward a more secure retirement (by Harold Meyerson) — Until we compensate for, or reverse, the abdication of corporate America from any major role in providing its workers with retirement security, we should lay off monkeying with Social Security to reduce the program’s future payments. As for all those cash-drenched chief executives who proclaim that we must cut entitlements, how about they make up the difference by restoring the pensions their companies slashed?


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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