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Belshaw scabs, Sen. O’Ban, austerity update, whither the rule of law…

Wednesday, June 5, 2013




Belshaw-strike-front► At AFL-CIO Now — Belshaw factory strikers stand strong after rejecting unfair contract — IAM: “Since March 24, the employees have been diligently manning the strike line at the Auburn facility of the employer. Since the beginning the employer has taken the position that it would replace the workers if they did not cave and come back to work. Belshaw President Mr. Faw, through his labor negotiator, notified the union and its bargaining committee that it has replaced about 60% of the strikers and will continue to replace the remaining unless they accept the Last Best and Final document that was offered during mediation. That document was voted down unanimously along with the message, ‘We will not go back with less than we went out with.’ ”

ALSO at The Stand — International solidarity for Belshaw strikers

► In today’s News Tribune — Clover Park District to get $91 million to rebuild JBLM schools — The Defense Department is sending almost $91 million to Lakewood’s Clover Park School District to demolish and rebuild three elementary schools that serve students at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) has announced.

► In today’s Oregonian — Columbia River Crossing: One step forward, another back as Coast Guard hearing lets all sides sound off — The Coast Guard has veto authority over the project, and CRC officials expect the agency to decide by Sept. 30 whether to issue the necessary bridge permit. But the Coast Guard’s national chief of bridge programs told The Oregonian Tuesday that a decision may not occur by then.

► In today’s Columbian — Coast Guard hears CRC objections from project’s critics — In the first of two hearings hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard, much of the testimony focused on the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement’s planned 116-foot bridge height.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Commissioners hear update on coal terminal permit process — A number of factors — including the need to be extra cautious in the face of public scrutiny — are contributing to the lengthy time its taking to process a permit for the proposed Longview coal terminal, Cowlitz County commissioners were told Tuesday.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Pasco hospital to stop delivering babies, cut 50-65 jobs — After almost a century of delivering babies in Pasco, Lourdes Health Network is closing its obstetrics department and laying off 50 to 65 people. Some of those jobs will be lost when Lourdes also closes its Connell clinic.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — PGE projects mean hundreds of construction jobs in Boardman, Dayton — Up to 800 construction jobs could be generated by two new power projects planned in Boardman and Dayton by Portland General Electric Co.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Estate tax plan moves forward in state Senate — Gov. Jay Inslee, clearly frustrated over a lack of progress in budget negotiations and a plan to fix a problem with the estate tax, accused the Senate on Tuesday of hurting schoolchildren to help multimillionaires. The Senate Republicans’ estate tax bill would eliminate about $500 million from the education legacy trust fund over the next 10 years, Inslee said.

ALSO at The Stand — Senate is choosing millionaires over students (May 31)

oban-steve► In today’s News Tribune — Rep. Steve O’Ban will replace Mike Carrell in Senate — Narrowly deciding Tuesday to bypass the top choice of local Republican Party activists, the Pierce County Council appointed University Place Republican Rep. Steve O’Ban to the Senate. O’Ban is a lawyer known for taking on high-profile cases on behalf of conservative causes.

► In today’s News Tribune — Pierce County Jail crisis demands legislative fix (editorial) — Washington mandates that its counties bear all the costs of caring for jailed felons, including psychiatric treatment and expensive medical procedures. Nobody else does this outside of state prisons. The Legislature has an obvious interest in not watching idly as a major urban jail slides into crippling distress.




► From Bloomberg — Carriers in Japan resume 787 flights as 747 era ends — ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines, the world’s two largest operators of Boeing 787s, are counting on the Dreamliner to boost profits as the carriers dump their fleets of 747s that they relied on for decades.

► In today’s NY Times — Japanese pilots worry about repaired 787 jets — As Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner returns to the skies, Japanese pilots are nervous about whether they would receive enough warning about any hazards with the jetliner’s new battery system.




federal-furloughs► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Washington River Protections cancels tank farm furloughs — Nonunion workers at Washington River Protection Solutions had been required to take 2.5 to 6.5 weeks of time off between spring and the end of September because of the forced federal budget cuts called sequestration. That puts the final tally of furloughed workers at about 1,800 across the site, far less than the 3,000 furloughs once projected. Most of those remaining furloughs are for one week. However, many workers remain without jobs. TRIDEC estimates that 600 workers have lost jobs because of sequestration at Hanford.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Ironworkers call on Congress to fix crumbling infrastructure — After the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in Washington State, Ironworkers General President Walter Wise called on Congress to break the unprecedented gridlock and make immediate investment in rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

► At TPM — House Republicans quietly return to budget stand-off mode — On Tuesday the House passed a measure directing House appropriators, in the absence of a budget agreement, to adopt spending levels in the Republican budget. That budget calls for enormous cuts to spending on everything from science research to education to health care, in order to rescue the Defense Department and other politically favored agencies from the ravages of sequestration.

look-a-distraction► From Yahoo! News — Republicans: Is government union work delaying help for veterans? — Does a law permitting federal workers to do union work while on the clock at their government jobs shortchange veterans? That’s the suggestion from a pair of key Republican senators who have asked the VA Secretary for an accounting of what is known as “official time” at his agency.

EDITOR’S NOTE — These same Republicans have dismissed their across-the-board federal sequestration budget cuts as harmless, having slashed the budgets for programs supporting veterans on issues from housing to mental health, including the Labor Department’s VETS job-training program. And yet it’s now The Unions that are harming veterans. “Official Time” is a decades-old policy that has allowed agencies to expeditiously and effectively use employee input to make government more efficient and resolve labor-management conflicts. The only thing that has changed is America’s right wing has been emboldened by their rich benefactors to undermine and eliminate labor unions.




► From AP — About 135,00 private-sector jobs added in May, short of expectations — A private survey shows U.S. businesses added just 135,000 jobs in May, the second straight month of weak gains. The chief economist for Moody’s Analytics blamed the slowdown on higher taxes and steep government spending cuts enacted this year.

murray-patty► In The Nation — The most underestimated feminist in D.C. — In her fourth term, largely under the media radar, Patty Murray has become a major force in the Senate, and a leading voice for family-level concerns not often central to that body. She has been insistent on women’s issues such as healthcare, domestic violence and reproductive rights. Her status has been bolstered by two recent triumphs — a completely unexpected 2012 two-seat gain as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and piloting a federal budget though the Senate — that have helped make her Washington’s most underestimated feminist figure.

► In today’s NY Times — Advice and consent (editorial) — President Obama did his job with three fine nominations to a top appeals court. Now the Senate has a job to do.




stand-up-to-cablevision► At AFL-CIO Now — Brooklyn Cablevision’s NLRB suit aims deep into agency — In January 2012, some 285 Brooklyn Cablevision workers voted to join the CWA and have since been in negotiations for a fair contract, with little success. In April, two National Labor Relations Board regional directors issued complaints against Brooklyn Cablevision for failure to bargain in good faith and for illegally firing 22 workers. Now the cable giant has filed a suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit claiming the court’s recent ruling that President Barack Obama’s recess appointments of three members to the NLRB are invalid should reach even deeper into the NLRB and invalidate decisions by the board’s regional offices.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In order to restore the rule of law, the U.S. Senate must end the Republican minority’s ability to endlessly filibuster NLRB appointees. What’s the point of having laws if political ideologues — who lost the presidential election and have been relegated to the minority in the Senate — can block their enforcement?


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