Tuesday, March 19, 2013
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford layoffs Monday total 235 workers — Layoff notices went out to 235 Hanford workers Monday because of sequestration, or automatic federal budget cuts. That does not include workers who may lose their jobs as some DOE contractors scale back on work assigned to their subcontractors.
ALSO at The Stand — Join Wednesday’s National Day of Action urging Congress to repeal sequestration
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford contractors outline cleanup delays — Environmental cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation will slow as a result of the forced federal budget cuts called sequestration. In some cases, layoffs and furloughs will mean fewer employees available to do cleanup work.
► In today’s News Tribune – Why Congress must replace across-the-board cuts (by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer) — Thousands of workers in our area, including folks at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, will soon face furloughs and a substantial cut in pay. They had to come to work that day knowing Congress let them down. They deserve better. Congress should do its job to find a responsible, balanced solution to deficit reduction and stop exacerbating our nation’s economic challenges.
► In today’s Washington Post — Pay raise on way out, furloughs on way in — Congress is poised to close the door on the possibility of a federal employee pay raise for the remainder of this calendar year while leaving in place spending cuts that threaten many workers with unpaid furloughs.
► In today’s NY Times — Senate proposal would spare vital programs from cuts — With the expected Senate passage as early as Tuesday of broad legislation to finance the federal government through Sept. 30, a lucky few programs will be spared the brunt of the automatic spending cuts — known as sequestration — now coursing through the federal government.
► At Politico — Sequestration cuts are already threatening House seats — Rep. Bill Enyart might be a Democrat and Rep. Rodney Davis a Republican, but the two rookie lawmakers in Southern Illinois share one fear. Sequestration could cost them their seats.
► In The Hill — House Democratic budget includes $1.2T in new taxes, $200B in new stimulus — That’s about twice the level of stimulus spending that what was in the Senate Democratic budget, which included $975 million in new taxes.
► In today’s Seattle Times — This time, SPEEA tech unit OKs Boeing contract — The 7,350 technical professionals at Boeing represented by the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) reversed course and overwhelming approved a four-year contract Monday, 87 to 13 percent, a month after rejecting the same terms by a narrow margin.
► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘In our face’ capitalism (by Jon Talton) — The newest hire in the mail room of Boeing’s headquarters could have done as good a job as Jim McNerney last year, as the radical outsourcing he oversaw and encouraged led to the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner. Even so, Boeing’s lapdog board gave McNerney a 20% raise, to $27.5 million. … A shamed McNerney would forgo his entire compensation for 2012. He’s already rich. But this act would convey a message of accountability and decency. Instead, the message is, “Let them eat cake.”
► From Bloomberg — Boeing secures $15.6B order for 175 737s from Ryanair — Ryanair Holdings Plc agreed to buy 175 Boeing 737 jets worth $15.6 billion at list price to add discount flights in markets vacated by full-service rivals, and said it may opt to add 200 more by the end of the year.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — War of words between Nippon Paper, union over new, unratified contract — Without union approval, Nippon Paper Industries USA implemented a labor contract Monday with about 130 members of AWPPW Local 155 employed at the plant. Company and union officials said the hourly workers stayed on the job Monday as they produced paper for telephone books and newspapers such as Peninsula Daily News. But the union fired back Monday, amending a pending unfair labor practices complaint against Nippon that was filed with the federal NLRB in January.
► In today’s News Tribune — Interest high in longshore jobs at Tacoma port — Postcards with applicants’ vital information must be postmarked by Wednesday midnight for members of the public to be entered in the lottery.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — USS Ronald Reagan wraps up shipyard work, heads home — The Reagan crew, shipyard workers and contractors completed what the Navy calls a Docked Planned Incremental Availability — $218 million in maintenance and upgraded systems, much of it performed in dry dock.
► In today’s Columbian — Proposed light-rail ordinance won’t appear on ’13 Vancouver ballot — An anti-light-rail ordinance won’t go to city voters this fall, the Vancouver City Council decided Monday.
► In today’s Columbian — State probes worker death at Thompson Metal Fab — The state Department of Labor & Industries is investigating Friday’s workplace incident in which worker Michael Carpenter, 33, of Vancouver was killed at Thompson Metal Fab in Vancouver.
► In today’s News Tribune — Would-be political foes Jan Angel, Nathan Schlicher face uphill battle for bills — Those two are likely to be their parties’ choices in a special election in November with big implications for the balance of power in the Senate. And both parties can block the other’s candidate from achieving much to boast about back home. Last week, both said they smelled politics in the air.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Tax break auditors give report to House panel — The Legislature should take a look at tax breaks for insurance agents and travel agents, for manufacturers of high-tech and bio-tech, for folks who load big ships and folks who catch certain kinds of fish, a House committee was told Monday. Some may not be creating or protecting jobs as the Legislature intended when they were granted five, 10, or more than 70 years ago.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State tuition could go up 5 to 7%, if funding stays flat — Earlier this year, the presidents of Washington’s four-year colleges promised to freeze in-state undergraduate tuition if the Legislature would allocate an additional $225 million to fund higher education. But that scenario is looking less likely every day. If there are no increases — but also no cuts — tuition is likely to go up by about 5 to 7 percent in the next school year.
► At Politico — AFL-CIO praises Perez pick — “Throughout his career, Perez has fought to level the playing field and create opportunities for working people, whether in the workplace, the marketplace or the voting booth,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement.
► At CounterPunch — Why Republicans hate Thomas Perez — By all accounts, the Republicans plan to use a full-court press to kill his nomination. Why? Basically, it boils down to two reasons: (1) Because Perez is unabashedly pro-worker, pro-union, pro-immigrant, and pro-civil rights; and (2) because Obama nominated him.
► At Huffington Post — Warren: Minimum wage would be $22/hour if it kept up with productivity — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made a case for increasing the minimum wage last week during a Senate committee hearing, in which she cited a study that suggested the federal minimum wage would have stood at nearly $22 an hour today if it had kept up with increased rates in worker productivity.
► In The Hill — Obama group Organizing for Action courts unions as cash grab accelerates — Unions have said they are open to bankrolling Organizing for Action, the controversial revamp of Obama’s reelection machine, and are now discussing partnerships with the nonprofit.
► In The Hill — U.S. Chamber wants flexibility on Obama’s health law’s employer mandate — In formal comments submitted to the IRS, the Chamber lays out a set of recommendations, including a proposal to adopt a non-enforcement period for the first year after the mandate takes effect, so that employers would not be penalized while they struggle to understand and comply with the law and its provisions.
► At In These Times — ‘Hyatt Hurts’ boycott inflicts pain on hotel giant — UNITE HERE’s latest advance in Baltimore comes as part of its larger “Hyatt Hurts” campaign, launched last year as a global effort to broaden union representation at the company’s hotels. The union campaign also seeks to settle simmering disputes with Hyatt at scattered hotels where UNITE HERE already represents some workers, and where Hyatt is taking a hard line against its own employees. Hyatt is clearly feeling the campaign pressure; the hotel chain issued a public statement March 11 lauding new contract settlements with UNITE HERE locals at three widely separated hotels facing labor unrest.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Waste Management workers in Oakland file charges over employee intimidation — More than 200 workers also initiated a work stoppage that was joined by hundreds of other workers at the facilities. The stoppage lasted five hours before workers returned to the job in order to minimize disruptions for customers.
► In today’s NY Times — Justices appear divided on Arizona voting law — The Supreme Court appeared divided along familiar lines on Monday as it heard arguments over whether Arizona can require proof of citizenship from people seeking to register to vote in federal elections.
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