Wednesday, July 31, 2013
► In the NW Labor Press — Washington State Labor Council convention: ‘Labor can’t do it alone’ — Labor can’t do it alone. That was the number one message of the July 25-27 convention of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), which stressed “building bridges” to like-minded groups and individuals, including nonunion workers and the immigrant rights and environmental movements. “If we are to give real voice to working people, then we must build true bridges with our strategic community partners,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Center Partners to lay off 578 Liberty Lake workers — No reason was given by Center Partners in the letter mailed to the Washington state Employment Security Department.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Amazon to add 100 jobs at Kennewick call center — The world’s largest online retailer already employs more than 300 Tri-Citians.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Huge hospital chain makes offer to buy Yakima Regional — Regional has been owned for 10 years by Health Management Associates of Naples, Fla. Now, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems is proposing to acquire it as part of a $3.9 billion deal that would create a for-profit chain of 206 hospitals.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Big bill and big delay to fix 520 pontoons — Fixing, sealing and strengthening Highway 520 bridge pontoons has cost at least $81.1 million, with more expenses ahead, the state has revealed. That work, the result of a state design team’s engineering error, has also delayed opening the bridge by at least a year.
► In today’s News Tribune — Panel votes to hike ferry fares about 6% — The fare hikes totaling about 6 percent will be phased in over the next year. They are expected to raise $328 million over the next two years to meet state budget requirements set by the Legislature.
► In today’s News Tribune — Steve O’Ban named committee chairman — Steve O’Ban, the University Place Republican who was appointed to replace the late Mike Carrell in the state Senate, will now replace Carrell as chairman of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee.
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing making more workforce cuts — Boeing told 146 Washington workers this week and last that they will be laid off in late September. Those layoffs are part of a continuing effort by Boeing to trim its workforce in the Puget Sound area. Not all of those workers receiving notices this month will lose their jobs. Some could transfer to other open jobs within the company.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing Everett Dreamlifter center to open in October — For people nervous about the gradual exodus of Boeing people away from Washington, the operations center, along with Boeing’s Everett Delivery Center opened in April, are evidence that the company also is continuing to invest in Everett.
► From Bloomberg — EADS to adopt Airbus name, reflecting heft of civil aircraft — European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. will adopt the Airbus name to reflect the dominance of commercial aircraft, and the company plans to combine defense and space operations to help weather shrinking demand.
► At TPM — Senate confirms all NLRB nominees — The Senate has voted to fill all five seats on the National Labor Relations Board. Senators used a near party-line vote Tuesday to confirm Democrat Kent Hirozawa to the NLRB, which helps resolve labor disputes. It then approved four more NLRB nominees, two Democrats and two Republicans.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — U.S. Senate finally confirms NLRB members
► From NBC News — At labor event, McCain keeps pressure on GOP for immigration reform — Appearing at the headquarters of a labor union typically aligned with Democrats (the AFL-CIO), Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday once again urged his party’s House members to pass an immigration reform measure that contains a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
► In The Hill — Immigration lobby prepares to camp out in Republican districts over recess — Business groups, tech companies and labor unions are bringing down the hammer on House Republicans over immigration reform. Supporters of immigration reform worry the August recess could be their Waterloo, and are planning events, rallies and editorial board meetings to keep their legislative push alive.
► In The Hill — Boehner on shutdown: Don’t go there — Government funding runs dry in two months, on Sept. 30 — just a few weeks after the House returns from a five-week August recess. Some conservatives have urged a government shutdown if Obamacare is funded, but House leadership thinks a government shutdown would be treacherous for the GOP majority.
► From AP — Delay of employer health-care penalties will cost $10 billion — The Obama administration’s surprise decision to delay a key requirement of the health care law for employers will cost the government $10 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Palermo’s agrees to reinstate 8 fired workers — In a a settlement reached with the Palermo Workers Union and the National Labor Relations Board, Palermo’s Pizza has agreed to return eight fired workers to their former jobs with back pay. The company also has agreed to post a notice in its Milwaukee plant informing workers of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act and to hold a union election.
► At In these Times — Big business aims to crush Worker Centers — The Center for Union Facts (CUF), an anti-union advocacy organization funded by corporations, took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal last week claiming that worker centers — traditionally understood as non-union community organizations supporting and organizing low-wage, often immigrant workers, such as the New York Taxi Workers Alliance or the Restaurant Opportunities Center United — are little more than front groups for unions. “Big labor unions are trying to disguise themselves as ‘worker centers’ to push their organizing and political agendas,” the text reads.
► At Huffington Post — Doubling McDonald’s salaries would raise Big Mac’s cost just 68 cents, study finds — Doubling the salaries and benefits of all McDonald’s employees — from workers earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to CEO Donald Thompson, whose 2012 compensation totaled $8.75 million — would cause the price of a Big Mac to increase just 68 cents, from $3.99 to $4.67, according to research by a University of Kansas student. In addition, every item on the Dollar Menu would go up by 17 cents.
► At Huffington Post — Financial crisis cost more than $14 trillion, study finds — The financial crisis likely cost at least a year’s worth of U.S. economic output, a new Fed study finds. Worse, it’s hurting the economy even now and will hurt it for years to come.
► At DailyKos — Fighting inequality begins at home — The truth is, serious action on addressing income inequality will likely not come from the president once again beating his head against the stubborn wall of Republican intransigence. Given the high drama that will unfold in our nation’s capital in the coming weeks and months, it’s easy to forget that decisions made at the local level can have huge regional ramifications.
Right now, a major issue in Seattle politics is an attempt by Whole Foods — a company with an unpleasant record on labor issues — to build a megastore in West Seattle. The city council still has yet to weigh in, but Mayor Mike McGinn has taken a bold stand by instructing the Seattle Department of Transportation to recommend that the council reject Whole Foods’ request to vacate a road. In cases like this, one might expect that concerns about traffic or overdevelopment might prompt such a move, but McGinn recognized that city ordinances allowed him to consider wages and benefits as part of what constitutes the overall public good.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.