Monday, May 13, 2013
► In the Seattle Times — Boeing to shed 1,500 IT jobs here over next three years — Boeing will inform its information-technology workers Monday that 1,500 IT jobs in the Puget Sound region will go away in the next three years through a combination of layoffs, attrition and relocation to Missouri and South Carolina. The IT positions include systems engineers, applications developers and database administrators. The nonunion workers are mostly highly trained, middle-aged and well-paid with good medical and pension benefits.
► A couple weeks ago in the (Everett) Herald — Boeing profits beat expectations despite 787 difficulties — The Boeing Co.’s first-quarter profit rose 5.3% and beat analysts’ estimates as increased deliveries for 777- and 737-model jets made up for the halt in buyers picking up Dreamliners while that plane was grounded.
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Union vote looms at a top firm in Oregon — About 2,300 employees of aerospace supplier Precision Castparts, Oregon’s second-largest company by revenues, will vote next month on whether to join the Machinists union. It’s a big moment in a state where, like Washington, unionization rates are significantly higher than the national average but organized labor is struggling to hold its own.
► In today’s News Tribune — Budget plans in flux at start of session — As lawmakers debate how much money to spend on schools and state government, the budget proposal by House Democrats represents the high-water mark — one that even they cannot meet. Their plan would spend $34.5 billion, of which $1.3 billion is an answer to a court mandate to devote more money to basic education. Both totals are the highest of the three plans on lawmakers’ bargaining table.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Special legislative session not so special — Going into overtime is becoming a habit for the Legislature. Only 10 times since 1980 have lawmakers managed to get done on time. Some years they’ve needed multiple extra periods.
► In the Seattle Times — UW student advisory committee backs tuition increase — for faculty, staff raises — In an unusual twist, a student-led committee at the University of Washington says that if state lawmakers don’t boost funding for higher education, the school should raise tuition by 3% — and use all the money to give faculty and staff a raise.
► In today’s Columbian — CRC supporters, foes step up lobbying efforts — As legislators face a decision on whether to commit $450 million this year toward the Columbia River Crossing project, lobbying and advertising efforts have increased ahead of a special legislative session that begins today.
► In the Columbian — Overflow crowd meets to discus recall, other options with Madore, Mielke — The two commissioners have drawn strong protest in the aftermath of their surprise May 1 decision to appoint State Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) to the position of director of environmental services without vetting him through the county’s typical hiring process. Angry over the series of events, people packed into the IAFF Union Hall on Saturday to see if there was recourse to challenge the commissioners. One option offered up by former Democratic county commissioner Craig Pridemore: a home-rule charter.
► In today’s News Tribune — Weyerhaeuser could stay at port for 20 years — The Port of Olympia Commission is set to ratify a lease amendment at its meeting today, an agreement that could keep Weyerhaeuser and its log export business at the port for the next 20 years.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma career, tech teachers face layoffs as funding vanishes — Teachers in Tacoma Public Schools could be facing the first layoffs from their ranks in many years. The cuts, if they happen, will target only career and technical education teachers, and likely no more than 10 of them. But that’s nearly 10% of the 108-person CTE teaching staff.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — How Stanwood landed a factory and 62 jobs — The city is now home to Washington’s largest electrical panel and control systems manufacturer, Process Solutions. Why Stanwood? It doesn’t have a reputation for tech manufacturing, but it does have a mayor, city officials and local boosters who want attract and keep family-wage jobs.
► In today’s Daily News — Local postal carriers collect more than 37,000 pounds of food — Longview and Kelso postal carriers collected 37,424 pounds of food Saturday on their mail routes during the National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County firefighters host 5K run, 2-mile walk — A race-walk next week benefits two local organizations: one that helps those who’ve suffered the death of a loved one and another that promotes fire prevention and other safety issues for children.
► In today’s Olympian — Community stronger, better because of public employees (editorial) — This week is public service recognition week. In a community where public employees make up more than 40 percent of the workforce, it is hard to imagine Thurston County without the influence of dedicated public servants. The large number of community volunteers and organizations is, without doubt, partly due to the concentration of community-minded public employees.
► In the Madison Cap Times — Trumka: ‘Grand bargain’ is a dead end (by Richard Trumka) — In a “grand bargain,” Republicans agree to stop protecting millionaires from having to pay a single penny more in taxes. In return, Democrats agree to cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits. That doesn’t sound like a bargain to me. It sounds more like working people getting ripped off. Of course big corporations and the wealthy need to start paying their fair share — but cutting benefits is not the answer.
► At Politico — The GOP’s sham support for working families (by Molly Monroe) — Last week, House Republicans voted against working families by passing the misleadingly named Working Families Flexibility Act. In the lead up to the vote, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, the NRCC, unveiled a digital ad campaign targeting “mommy blogs” in hopes of convincing people that they are on the side of working families. In reality, they dusted off a decades-old bill that that, despite its name, makes it more difficult for working parents to take time to care for their children. The ads lambaste Democrats for not supporting their proposal, which empowers employers to pay their employees less.
ALSO at The Stand —Republicans’ comp-time bill: More work for less pay
► In today’s NY Times — Who can take the Republicans seriously? (editorial) — Republican lawmakers have become reflexive in rejecting every extended hand from the Obama Administration, even if the ideas were ones that they themselves once welcomed. Under the circumstances, Obama would be best advised to stop making peace offerings. Only when the Republican Party feels public pressure to become a serious partner can the real work of governing begin.
► At TPM — Bangladesh will allow garment workers to form unions without factory owners’ consent — The decision came a day after the government announced a plan to raise the minimum wage for garment workers, who are paid some of the lowest wages in the world to sew clothing bound for global retailers. Both moves are seen as a direct response to the April 24 collapse of an eight-story building housing five garment factories, killing more than 1,100 people.
► In the Detroit Free Press — Fast food workers stage walk-outs in Detroit to protest wages — Fast-food workers staged sporadic walk-outs and protests at chain eateries in Detroit on Friday as part of a nationwide protest to gain better wages and working conditions.
► In the St. Louis P-D — Fast food and the future of the working class (editorial) — The strike here, like similar efforts in New York, Chicago and Detroit, should be seen not as an effort to bring an industry to the bargaining table immediately. It’s an effort to start a fire.
► In the LA Times — An employer’s right not to speak (editorial) — Employers should not be forced to disseminate union propaganda. But requiring them to post a neutral summary of workers’ rights under federal law is no more an unjust intrusion than compelling them to post notices about civil rights laws or workplace safety.
► In today’s NY Times — Chinese creating new auto niche within Detroit — Dozens of companies from China are putting down roots in Detroit, part of the country’s steady push into the American auto industry. While starting with batteries and auto parts, the spread of Chinese business is expected to result eventually in the sale of Chinese cars in the United States.
► In today’s NY Times — Public university presidents are prospering, compensation study finds — The study’s author said there has been a sea change in the last few years, with the rich getting richer and some pay packages exceeding not just $1 million, but $2 million.
► In today’s Seattle Times — UW president’s salary ranks 12th among public universities — Michael K. Young’s base pay of $550,000, combined with the money he will earn in deferred compensation if he remains president for five full years, gives him a total compensation package of $768,500.
► In today’s NY Times — How austerity kills (by David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu) — The correlation between unemployment and suicide has been observed since the 19th century. People looking for work are about twice as likely to end their lives as those who have jobs. If suicides were an unavoidable consequence of economic downturns, this would just be another story about the human toll of the Great Recession. But it isn’t so. Countries that slashed health and social protection budgets, like Greece, Italy and Spain, have seen starkly worse health outcomes than nations like Germany, Iceland and Sweden, which maintained their social safety nets and opted for stimulus over austerity.
One need not be an economic ideologue — we certainly aren’t — to recognize that the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives. We are not exonerating poor policy decisions of the past or calling for universal debt forgiveness. It’s up to policy makers in America and Europe to figure out the right mix of fiscal and monetary policy. What we have found is that austerity — severe, immediate, indiscriminate cuts to social and health spending — is not only self-defeating, but fatal.
ALSO today at The Stand — Federal cuts are about to hit Washington’s unemployed
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