Friday, May 10, 2013
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Postal workers lead way to replenish food banks (by Julie Muhlstein) — The easiest way to be a big help is coming up Saturday. While delivering mail, letter carriers here and across the country will pick up donations of nonperishable food during the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. They are the visible heroes of the effort, which brings in about half of all goods Snohomish County food banks receive in a year. The massive food drive, marking its 21st anniversary Saturday, also relies on volunteers from labor groups, businesses and other organizations.
ALSO at The Stand — Record peanut butter haul by Pierce County unions
and Letter Carriers’ national food drive this Saturday
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee’s aerospace plan: Land the 777X — Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan is aimed not only at swaying Boeing’s 777X decision but also at shaping the state aerospace industry for decades to come. If successful, the initiative would boost 1,250 aerospace-related companies in the state that are suppliers to Boeing, the governor said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee looks for lures to assure Boeing does 777X work here — With the state budget stretched tight, Gov. Jay Inslee is hardly in a position to offer Boeing big new tax breaks to secure local jobs in building the company’s next updated plane, the 777X. But the governor and his advisers said Thursday they will review existing tax breaks for airplane manufacturing and prioritize transportation improvements and the training of aerospace workers.
► At Washington State Wire — A bit of good news from Wall Street has labor challenging the case for workers’ comp reform — Suddenly it’s clear what the argument is going to be — that a rebounding stock market ought to erase all worries that an enormous rate increase is around the corner. And that means lawmakers ought not to consider cost-saving reform legislation that would allow more workers to cash out their disability claims in the form of “structured settlements.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This WSW response to The Stand’s May 6 article, Workers’ compensation system posts strong gains, suggests that the Washington State Labor Council is suddenly more concerned with the system’s investment returns than about injured workers. The WSLC’s opposition to this year’s business-backed “reforms” has consistently focused on the harm those proposals would do to injured workers and their families. Conversely, business lobbying groups’ justification for promoting those proposals has never been about injured workers’ best interests. In fact, one of their bill’s explicit purposes is to prevent the state government from considering what’s in a worker’s “best interests” when approving these lump-sum buyouts. No, their justification for expanding compromise-and-release buyouts has always been about saving the system money and boosting its reserves to avoid future rate increases. That’s why The Stand pointed out that the 64% increase in system reserves to $953 million undermines business lobbying group’s case for more benefit cuts.
It’s telling that the Washington State Wire, a news blog funded by corporate lobbying groups like the AGC and managed by the Government Affairs Director of the Washington Business Alliance, did not think that the quickly improving financial condition of the workers’ compensation system was newsworthy. Previous Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council meetings with less positive news merited dramatic, alarming WSW coverage. It was not until The Stand reported last week’s good news that the WSW decided it was necessary to “respond” with some sky-is-still-falling damage control — just as other business lobbying entities did. ‘Nuff said.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Eyman made $110,000 last year from initiative pitching — The single largest contributor to the salary fund for Tim Eyman and his longtime initiative partners Jack Fagan and Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan was Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, who gave $150,000.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Scherf guilty of murder of corrections officer — Jayme Biendl was murdered at her post at the Washington State Reformatory on Jan. 29, 2011. The corrections officer fought for her life before she was strangled with a cord inside the sanctuary of the prison chapel. The jury now must decide whether Byron Scherf will face execution, or a mandatory punishment of life in prison without release.
► In today’s Columbian — Effort to recall Madore, Mielke afoot — Former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard advocated for recall of David Madore and Tom Mielke at a packed Clark County commissioners meeting earlier this week. It wasn’t an idle threat. He and others will meet Saturday to consider how to direct their outrage over the two commissioners’ decision to force out Clark County’s environmental services director and then replace him with Republican state Sen. Don Benton.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Weigh science, instead of conjecture, on dangers of coal-train dust (by Roger O. McClellan) — We are told, for example, someone saw something fall off a train. Or someone else found a chunk of coal in a river. This is not the kind of science-based approach needed to inform public-policy decisions on this important issue. In the campaign to block expansion of export terminals, some important facts are being left out of the debate.
IT WAS JUST A POSTER
► From AP — Appeals court strikes down union poster rule — In another blow to the nation’s dwindling labor unions, an appeals court on Tuesday struck down a federal rule that would have required millions of businesses to put up posters informing workers of their right to form a union.
► In today’s NY Times — The NLRB’s contested poster (editorial) — The subject of the latest outrageous ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is an 11-by-17-inch poster… The appeals court has four vacancies, out of 11 seats. Republican obstructionism has blocked new appointments during the Obama administration. A decision on a subject as politically charged as this one shows why it is important to have balance on the court.
► Geez, it was just a poster…
► In today’s LA Times — Miraculous rescue lifts spirits after Bangladesh building collapse — A woman emerged alive Friday from the rubble of a collapsed building 17 days after it pancaked just outside the capital of Bangladesh. More than 1,000 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage of the illegally constructed structure that housed five garment factories.
► In today’s Washington Post — AFL-CIO president: ‘We’re not going to let the employer decide who our members are any longer’ (by Ezra Klein) — While one way to balance out corporate money in American politics would be to somehow resuscitate organized labor, a much more straightforward way to do it is to pass legislation that reduces the power of all moneyed interests in American politics.
► In today’s NY Times — After plant explosion, Texas remains wary of regulation — Five days after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled a wide swath of this town, Gov. Rick Perry tried to woo Illinois business officials by trumpeting his state’s low taxes and limited regulations. Asked about the disaster, Perry responded that more government intervention and increased spending on safety inspections would not have prevented what has become one of the nation’s worst industrial accidents in decades.
► In today’s LA Times — Home building struggling to find enough workers — The real estate bust idled hundreds of thousands of construction workers. Now, with housing on the mend, builders are hiring again. Trouble is, many workers aren’t coming back because years of sporadic boom-and-bust employment drove many from the industry.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A more accurate headline would be: “Home builders struggling to find enough workers willing to accept the pay they are offering.”
► Last week we wished Pete Seeger a happy 94th birthday. Today we wish another musician/singer/songwriter, Side Vicious, a happy 56th birthday. Well, the Sex Pistols “bassist” would have been 56 today, if he hadn’t died of a heroin overdose in 1979. The entire staff of The Stand presents Sid doing it his very un-PC way.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.