Thursday, June 20, 2013
► At PubliCola — Workers’ comp reality check — Today’s Loser: The Republican Argument for Workers’ Comp Reform. The selling point behind (lump-sum buyouts) is that it’s supposed to lower payouts, stabilizing the state fund. Never mind, that the fund has started to stabilize now that the recession is over, but today, the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee announced that the projected savings from the 2011 legislation didn’t come to fruition; they were off, in fact, by nearly $140 million.
ALSO at The Stand — Buyouts aren’t saving as much as advertised
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — United for transportation (editorial) — Notwithstanding second-session fatigue, lawmakers need to regroup and make transportation the post-K-12 priority uno. A united front of regional labor, business and local governments has coalesced around Rep. Judy Clibborn’s proposal for $7.8 billion in expenditures over 12 years. Lions and lambs, Republicans and Democrats, are laboring in common cause towards a common purpose. “Transportation improvement projects are critical to the health of our county and state economy,” said Shannon Affholter, vice president of the Economic Alliance. Policymakers better internalize Affholter’s message. We’re in the fight of our (aerospace-sector) lives, and time is short.
ALSO at The Stand — Coalition: Pass state transportation package… now!
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Social service agencies bracing for fallout from budget battles — Budget battles on the federal and state levels are causing difficulties for local social service organizations, which might have to reduce programs that serve the community’s most needy.
► At the UFWS blog — You get what you pay for — The Senate Republicans have been trying to make political hay out of tuition since way back at the beginning of the regular legislative session. Unfortunately the 140 character pace of our discourse often leaves out the stark reality that tuition increases are the product of one thing only: cuts in state support.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Airbus exec says presence in Washington possible — Airbus Americas chairman Allan McArtor says his company, which has U.S. engineering centers in Wichita, Kan., and Mobile, Ala., is likely to add two more in the next decade and will seriously consider locating one in Washington state.
► From AP — Unemployment rate in Washington drops to 6.8% –Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.8%, well below the national unemployment rate of 7.6%, as the state added an estimated 4,100 jobs in May. The state has regained more than 162,000 of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession. However, nearly 237,000 people were still unemployed and looking for work last month, including more than 119,000 who claimed unemployment benefits.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle jobless rate under 5% for first time since 2008 — Joblessness in the Seattle metro area, which includes Bellevue and Everett, dropped to 4.7 percent in May, down from 5.1 percent a month earlier. Only a year ago, Seattle’s jobless rate stood at 7.3 percent.
► At IAM751’s blog — IAM 751 pledges support for striking Auburn Machinists — Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski led a delegation of District 751 officers and activists who joined Machinists on strike against Belshaw Adamatic on their picket lines for a day. “We’re here to support you, whatever way we can,” said Wroblewski, as he donated a $1,000 check to the Machinists Union Local Lodge 79 strike fund. “There are more than 30,000 members standing right behind you, and there are 10,000 retirees we’ll mobilize if we have to.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Rep. DelBene eating on food-stamp budget for week — Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene is dining on a food stamp-sized budget, which the federal government calculates is about $4.50 a day or $30 a week per person.
► In the Wenatchee World — Oregon company bringing 50 jobs to Winton — An Oregon businessman has leased the long-shuttered Longview Fibre sawmill site and will employ 50 to 60 by mid-July building specialty wood-and-steel “mats” for oil rigs. The workforce could grow to 100 to 200 in a few years or during times of peak production, he said.
► In today’s LA Times — Senators broker tentative deal to end immigration bill logjam — Key senators brokered a tentative deal Wednesday to strengthen the border security provisions in the immigration bill, a compromise that could break a logjam by satisfying Republican demands for tougher enforcement without jeopardizing a path to citizenship for immigrants.
► In today’s Washington Post — Proposal would allow more women to come to U.S. under immigration bill — A group of female senators (including Washington’s Sen. Patty Murray) is planning to introduce a proposal Thursday that would ensure that more women would be admitted to the United States under a comprehensive immigration bill, representing an early attempt at leverage by the Senate’s emerging bloc of women.
► At Politico — The immigration bill goes local — The strategy for passing immigration reform through the Senate isn’t just about striking a deal on border security. It also means assuring Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) that fish processors in his home state will be protected, meeting a request from Sen. Dean Heller (R–Nev.) that Nevada will be added to a border commission and guaranteeing Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) that resources won’t be diverted from the northern border.
► In the NW Labor Press — As Obamacare insurance exchanges near launch, labor braces for impact — Organized labor has spent years behind the scenes patiently pleading with the Obama Administration to be allowed to benefit from the law’s implementation. Now, four months before the law’s mandated state insurance exchanges launch, it appears that while some union members will benefit, many others may actually be harmed.
► In The Hill — Chamber mobilizes businesses to ‘get the truth out’ about entitlements — Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on Wednesday asked business leaders to join him in spreading the message that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are driving the United States to financial ruin.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Some of us consider “entitlement” to be the notion that you should benefit from the infrastructure, services and defense of this great nation without having to pay your fair share for those things.
► At Politico — Unions eye fight over role of federal contractors — More and more work has shifted from the federal government to contractors in recent years in an effort to cut down the size of government, and the unions hope they can use Edward Snowden, the source of the NSA leaks, as an example for the need for reform — and to fight off proposals on Capitol Hill to expand federal contracting.
► In today’s NY Times — Prying private eyes (editorial) — Congress has to end excessive reliance on government contractors for intelligence work.
► At Politico — Sequester sparks laid-off workers’ suit — Defense contractor L-3 Communications faces a class action lawsuit over its handling of layoffs at an Army airfield in Georgia, sparking renewed anger in Congress over an issue that first flared up during last year’s presidential campaign.
► In the Las Vegas Sun — Fast-food workers echo Occupy spirit (by Clarence Page) — Labor unions have been knocked back, knocked down and knocked out for so long that a new generation of organizers is beginning to try something new. Instead of unionizing and then protesting, they’re protesting first.
► At Slog — Gallup says 70% of Americans are ’emotionally disconnected’ at work — Only 30% of workers “were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace,” which incidentally is the highest figure Gallup’s ever recorded in its annual State of the Workforce survey. Not surprisingly, the largest percentages of dissatisfied workers are employed in low-paying service sector jobs, and that’s the fastest growing job segment in the nation.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.