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Filibuster deal, SeaTac lawsuit, Skagit strike…

Tuesday, July 16, 2013




► At Huffington Post — Filibuster deal averts nuclear option as Senate reaches tentative agreement –The Senate began stepping back from the “nuclear” brink Tuesday as leaders were said to be close to cutting a deal to approve seven of President Barack Obama’s long-blocked nominees. The deal, which was negotiated primarily between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), was described by a Senate Democratic aide as one in which the Republican Party will allow votes to confirm the seven executive nominees, provided that Obama replaces his two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board with two other names. Those nominees would have a commitment “in writing” from GOP leadership to get a vote, the Democratic aide said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — When the details of this possible deal are confirmed, The Stand will post the news. In the meantime, keep contacting U.S. Senators to urge an end to obstruction of labor justice: America’s working families need a (rule) change

boeing-NLRB► In today’s NY Times — Vacancies, partisan fighting put labor agency in legal limbo — The National Labor Relations Board, has functioned without a full slate of five members, and with its existing appointees in legal limbo, for President Obama’s entire presidency. This chronic disarray, experts say, has left the 80-year-old agency rudderless, throwing into doubt dozens of rulings on the nation’s thorniest labor disputes. Republicans have never been enamored of the board, generally viewing it as a New Deal creation to foster unionism. But their anger spiked in 2011 when the board’s acting general counsel filed a case against Boeing, asserting that its plan to open an aircraft assembly plant in South Carolina constituted illegal retaliation against the company’s workers in Washington State for repeatedly going on strike.

► In today’s NY Times — A step to majority rule in the Senate (editorial) — This is a precedent worth setting. Whether Republican or Democrat, a president should get a vote on executive appointments, giving nominees a chance to make a case to a simple majority that they are fit for office. The American people have come to detest Congress for its contentiousness and inaction. On Tuesday, the Senate has a chance to begin restoring its reputation.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Inaction on NLRB confirmations is simply wrong (by Richard Trumka) — maybe, just maybe, if we can shine a light on the real consequences of inaction, enough Senators will come to their senses and vote to confirm the package of NLRB nominees.  If they don’t, and if Republicans obstruct and try to shut down the Board, we need our champions in the Senate, like Harry Reid and Jeff Merkley, to do what it takes to get the job done and to keep the NLRB open for business.




alaska-airlines-WRA-Seatac-suit► In today’s Highline Times — Suit files to block SeaTac jobs initiative — Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the SeaTac City Council from sending the airport workers minimum-wage Initiative to voters later this fall.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — SeaTac workers decry lawsuit to block vote

► At Slog — Alaska Airlines, WA Restaurant Assoc. sue to keep minimum wage initiative off ballot — Alaska Airlines and the WRA sure do appear to fear the will of the people. It is rare for the courts to engage in pre-ballot review, the presumption being that the legal issues do not become “ripe” unless and until the initiative is approved by voters. Alaska/WRA attorney Harry Korrell’s rambling 32-page complaint at times appears to be more a political polemic than a cogent legal argument. Korrell was lead attorney in Dino Rossi’s challenge of Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial election.

► From AP — Walmart faceoff with D.C. stirs minimum wage debate — The bitter standoff between Wal-Mart and Washington, D.C. officials over the city’s effort to impose a higher minimum wage on big-box retailers is fueling a wider debate about how far cities should go in trying to raise pay for low-wage workers — and whether larger companies should be required to pay more.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Like Alaska Airlines, for example, which made $316 million in profits last year, up 29%, in part by outsourcing jobs out to low-wage subcontractors.

farmworkers-strike-130716► At Slog — Haggen Dazs berry pickers strike against racism, mistreatment in Skagit County — The workers, many of whom are undocumented, have a broad range of bold demands. They’re calling on farm employees—from executives down to crew bosses — to stop with the demeaning bullshit already. “Cease and desist from disrespectful and racist language such as ‘oaxaquita,’ ‘indio,’ ‘estupido,’ and the use of stereotypes around inherent ‘laziness,’ ‘drunkeness,” or ‘dirtiness’ of Triqui and Mixteco farmworkers,” they say in a press release.

► In today’s Columbian — Longshore union objects to Coast Guard plan — The ILWU is objecting to the U.S. Coast Guard’s expansion of safety zones around certain vessels on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. The union says the new temporary zones would encroach on its free speech rights and hand grain terminal operators an “undue advantage” in their dispute with the ILWU.

► In today’s (Aberdeen) Daily World — Worksource to aid Harbor Paper employees — Harbor Paper employees should soon begin seeing unemployment benefits, with Worksource Grays Harbor conducting two rapid response meetings for the former mill workers July 16.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Seattle public health agency loses federal reimbursement, faces layoffs — It’s been 12 months since Public Health – Seattle & King County has received federal payments for a program designed to increase local access to Medicaid. That’s forced the agency to make a $700,000 cut in staffing and overhead, resulting in seven layoffs so far.




787-outsource► In today’s NY Times — 787 fire inquiry focuses on transmitter — British safety investigators are examining whether a malfunction in an emergency locator transmitter or other equipment in the rear of a 787 caused the plane to catch fire on Friday at Heathrow Airport. The transmitter is powered by a small lithium-manganese battery. Honeywell Aerospace, which supplies the transmitter, said Monday that it had sent technical experts to help the investigators.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Former legislator Kip Tokuda dies at 66 — Tokuda suffered a heart attack Saturday while fishing on Deer Lake on South Whidbey Island. The death shocked Seattle’s tight-knit Asian-American community in which he was raised and for whom he became an inspiring leader.




daily-news-trayvon► At AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO unions react to acquittal verdict in death of Trayvon Martin — While working families, civil rights groups and people from all over gathered in cities across the United States to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, AFL-CIO affiliate unions, constituency groups and allies also expressed their shock over the verdict.

► In today’s Seattle Times — National higher-ed newspaper critical of Gates Foundation’s influence — “Some leaders and analysts are uneasy about the future that Gates is buying: a system of education designed for maximum measurability, delivered increasingly through technology, and — these critics say — narrowly focused on equipping students for short-term employability,” says a new report from the well-respected Chronicle of Higher Education.


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