Monday, March 25, 2013
► In Saturday’s Seattle Times — Boeing plans to lay off 800 Machinists — Boeing said Friday it will lay off some 800 machinists by the end of this year as workforce needs on its newest jet programs, the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 jumbo jet, are reduced. Company spokesman Doug Alder said other reductions will be made through attrition so that the total number of positions cut this year will be between 2,000 and 2,300.
► In Sunday’s Peninsula Daily News — First paper production expected tonight after Nippon workers return — Some 130 members of AWPPW Local 155 walked off the job Wednesday. Union officials said Friday that they would return to work today (Sunday). Union bargaining board member Rod Weekes has said that workers “didn’t want to do irreparable harm to [Nippon]. We want this to be a successful company, and we want to be part of it.” Contract negotiations, which have been going on for the last 22 months, will continue, said AWPPW’s Greg Palleson.
► In the Seattle Times — Postal workers protest (photos)
ALSO at The Stand — Seattle, Spokane, nation rally to Save 6-Day Delivery
► In the Columbian — Raise voices for CRC, Inslee says — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday urged local government and business leaders to amplify their voices in support of the Columbia River Crossing project. Inslee has been a strong supporter of the $3.4 billion CRC, which would replace the I-5 Bridge, rebuild nearby freeway interchanges and extend light rail into Vancouver. He said Washington lawmakers need to commit money to the project this year, following Oregon’s lead and seizing a closing window of opportunity to make the project happen. Failure to take that “one shot” will jeopardize the CRC’s chances for an $850 million federal grant, and set the project back at least a decade, Inslee said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — T-Mobile stays silent as layoff buzz gets louder (by Brian Dudley) — Recent moves by T-Mobile are making me wonder what sort of neighbor we’re getting in Factoria. Secretive layoffs are the biggest concern. My sources tell me that hundreds of well-paying headquarters jobs are being cut this month, but the company won’t acknowledge a thing.
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — David Rolf: The man who would make unions matter again — Rolf, president of the Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union, believes it’s time for the labor movement to hold up a mirror to itself. “Our model is no longer accessible to most Americans,” Rolf says, sounding like an administrator of tough love. “It’s no longer wrong to say that unions aren’t very influential in people’s lives.”
► In Sunday’s Olympian — Washington’s tax burden ranks on the low side — The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation last week ranked Washington No. 28 out of the 50 states for the percentage of income paid by residents in state and local taxes in 2010. For Democrats concerned that the tax system is not keeping up with the growth in demand for state services, such calculations are not surprising.
► In the (Everett) Herald — ‘Claw back’ is good policy (editorial) — Many tax breaks goose major employers such as Boeing and Microsoft. And all loopholes merit strict scrutiny as well as an expiration date. Decade after decade, special interests finesse exemptions that are never revisited, even when there’s zero public value and no meaningful employment. This year, with Gov. Inslee promising not to raise taxes and the imperative to infuse $1-2 billion more into K-12 education, something’s got to give.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Ferry construction provides needed vessels, jobs, more (by Vigor CEO Frank Foti) — State legislators had three goals in passing the law requiring Washington’s ferries to be built in Washington: employ people, have a positive economic impact and help develop a capable maritime workforce while replenishing the aging ferry fleet. With all the benefits of Build in Washington — jobs, economic activity, workforce development, helping Washington attract new business, and providing needed boats on time and on budget — state lawmakers should be congratulated. The law is doing exactly what they hoped.
ALSO at The Stand — Buy Washington: Create jobs here, including building ferries
► In the Spokesman-Review — Signs of state parks’ neglect reflect years of cuts — As Washington state’s park system enters its 100th year, budget cuts have begun to take a heavy toll. Many of Washington’s 117 parks, 700 historic buildings and 33 heritage centers and interpretive sites are showing signs of neglect and even abandonment as a result of budget cuts.
► From Reuters — Immigration talks stalled by wage disputes — Senate negotiations on revamping the U.S. immigration system are stalled over wages for future low-skilled foreign workers such as construction laborers, cooks, janitors and hotel maids, sources familiar with the talks said last week. There were conflicting versions of the disagreement. One source said Democrats presented a plan and Republicans accepted it, but when senators showed it to the AFL-CIO, the labor union federation said no. But, according to the AFL-CIO, Democrats presented Republicans with a plan and the Republicans rejected it.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Welcome to a coordinated effort to “blame labor” if Democrats don’t agree to Republican demands for poverty-level wages for new immigrants. (It’s a campaign that was launched BEFORE talks AFL-CIO/Chamber talks broke down over the weekend.) More to come on this… but until then, we must fight back. We will continue to raise our voices for real immigration reform.
► In today’s LA Times — Is there an economic case for ending all guest worker programs? — Employers and workers’ advocates alike are calling for reforms to the temporary guest worker programs that allow seasonal farmworkers and others to come work in the U.S. for parts of the year. But some observers are proposing a different economic argument: abolishing guest worker programs altogether. After all, these jobs, especially on farms, are so difficult that no Americans want to do them. Maybe if farmers weren’t given the opportunity to import cheap labor, they’d be able to create better jobs, argues Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
► In today’s NY Times — Time to strengthen family immigration (editorial) — Reuniting loved ones will bolster communities and the economy, as it always has.
► In today’s Washington Post — As Obama signs sequestration cuts, his economic goals are at risk — Obama has repeatedly championed a set of government investments that he argues would expand the economy and strengthen the middle class, including bolstering early-childhood education, spending more on research and development, and upgrading the nation’s roads and railways. He has said his comfortable reelection victory in November shows the country is with him. But none of those policies have come close to being enacted. Instead, Obama is set to sign a government funding measure that leaves in place the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration — a policy that undermines many of the goals he laid out during the 2012 campaign.
► In today’s Washington Post — Federal prison staffers avoid furloughs — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in an internal communication on Friday that the department shifted $150 million between accounts to avoid unpaid leave for Bureau of Prisons employees under the automatic spending cuts that took effect last month.
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Seattle boom an inconvenient truth for Republicans (by Danny Westneat) — In a dramatic reversal, Republicans responded to the news that Seattle has become one of the nation’s top jobs factories by openly questioning everything they’ve said over the years about job creation and how to grow the economy. A new jobs report showed Seattle businesses are on a hiring spree that has driven the city’s unemployment rate well below the rest of the state, to one of the lowest for big cities in the U.S.
The realization that neither the city’s high taxes nor its endless bureaucratic red tape seem to have dampened this explosion of capitalism at all has already begun to shake up the local political scene. Sen. Rodney Tom, leader of a mostly GOP coalition in the state Senate, said he was mulling switching parties. Again.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.