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Healthplanfinder™, AWPPW-Nippon contract, Motown great…

Friday, August 2, 2013




WA_healthplanfinder► In today’s Spokesman-Review — More people covered, costs lower for Washington Health Plan — What will Obamacare cost, and who will it help? In Washington state, where final rates emerged this week, it will cost less, cover more people, and provide more comprehensive benefits than consumers get today. On Thursday, the office of state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced its final decisions on the rates and policies to be offered for sale on Washington’s new insurance-selling website, the Health Plan Finder. Located at, the site is already running. The new rates are not on it yet, however, and insurance sales will not begin until Oct. 1. The policies it sells will take effect starting Jan. 1.

► In today’s Seattle Times — ObamaCare: What it will cost here — Although people in some counties will have limited choices, as they do now, in most counties the 31 new plans available from four companies will offer a wide range of premiums and cost-sharing options.




AWPPW-Nippon-ULP-strike► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — AWPPW OKs 6-year contract with Port Angeles paper plant — Nippon Paper Industries USA union workers approved a six-year contract this week, averting a possible strike. The agreement restores the $3 per hour that was cut from workers’ wages in a contract Nippon imposed in March — one that prompted a five-day strike — and freezes wages at pre-strike levels for the foreseeable future, Darrel Reetz, vice president of Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers Local 155, said Thursday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Eight arrested at downtown rally of fast-food workers — More than 100 people rallied at Westlake Park, marched and then congregated in front of the McDonald’s at Third Avenue and Pine Street. The demonstrators were protesting what they said was the theft of wages — having to work without breaks and overtime pay, among other things.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — 8 arrests at Seattle fast-food wage theft protest

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Fast-food worker strikes bring up living wage issue (by James McCusker) — The question of whether or not the worker centers are stealth unions is not as important as it might seem at first. Whatever they are, they are here to stay because they serve a purpose. Portions of our economy, especially in food production and the hospitality industry, have an unhealthy dependence on a large, entry-level wage labor force. The prolonged recession-like jobs picture has aggravated the inadequacies of that wage level to support working men and women, especially in our high-cost cities.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Investment banker plows $2 million into new political committee — A major new player has arrived in the state’s political arena and quickly became a force in this year’s election season. Tom Steyer, a banker, philanthropist and funder of environmental causes, contributed $2 million to the NextGen Climate Action Committee. This committee immediately jumped into the battle for the state Senate seat between Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher and Republican Rep. Jan Angel.




► At Huffington Post — Jobless rate falls to 7.4% thanks to low-wage jobs — The unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent as 162,000 more Americans had jobs in July, the U.S. Labor Department announced Friday. Temps accounted for nearly 8,000 of the jobs added in July, and along with retail and restaurant workers made up more than half of the employment gains. Low-wage workers have been a big part of overall job growth since the recession officially ended in 2009, a pattern economists say is normal early in an economic recovery but usually doesn’t last this long.

graph-adults-with-jobs► In today’s NY Times — An employment number that isn’t budging — For every 100 American adults, 63 had jobs before the recession; now, only 59 do.

► In today’s NY Times — GOP rifts lead Congress to spending impasse — Hours before leaving on summer recess, Congress on Thursday hit a seemingly intractable impasse on government spending, increasing the prospects of a government shutdown in the fall and adding new urgency to fiscal negotiations between the White House and a bloc of Senate Republicans.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Obama orders new chemical safety rules — President Obama on Thursday ordered federal agencies to develop new rules to address the handling and storage of industrial chemicals such as the ammonia nitrate fertilizer that caught fire and exploded in West, Texas, killing 15 and leveling large portions of the town in April.


► At AFL-CIO Now — 14 infrastructure areas the U.S. needs to fix before tragedy happens — Earlier this year, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its annual report card about the health of the nation’s infrastructure, giving the United States an overall grade of “D+” and stating that $3.6 trillion in investment is needed by 2020 to avoid catastrophes that could cost lives and cripple local economies.

► In today’s NY Times — Jobs and taxes (editorial) — The president’s proposal would indeed pay for some important job-creation programs. The hard part is ensuring that meeting near-term needs does not foreclose fair and adequate taxation in the future.




► In today’s Detroit News — Michigan Dems back Detroit aid, protecting pensions — The state’s two Democratic U.S. senators and five House members also said in a statement that “We strongly support the efforts to fully enforce the State Constitution to protect the pension for hardworking public servants.”

► In today’s Detroit News — For Detroit retirees, Michigan pension promise must be kept (editorial) — It’s wrong. It’s simply wrong, as a moral imperative, to snatch money out of old folks’ pension checks, no matter how broke the City of Detroit is.

motown-label_where-did-our-love-go► In the New Yorker — Motown Down (by John Cassidy) — Last week, the President, in laying out his economic agenda, talked about the need to repair the country’s infrastructure. Where better to start than in Detroit? By the standards of the banking and auto bailouts, the sums involved are small. … Americans of all ages are increasingly eager to live in urban environments: a smaller, rebuilt Detroit could eventually thrive. “I speak of new cities and new people,” Obama said, quoting Carl Sandburg. Here’s an opportunity to turn words into deeds.

And speaking of Motown…




► He’s one of the most influential players to ever pick up a bass guitar. He performed on nearly 30 No. 1 pop hits — surpassing a record commonly attributed to The Beatles. And 30 years ago today, he died at 47, reportedly destitute and bitter about his lack of recognition. James Jamerson was one of The Funk Brothers who played uncredited on dozens of hit records for Motown. Do yourself a favor and find/watch “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” about Jamerson and the rest of the Funk Brothers. In the meantime, The Entire Staff of The Stand presents this tribute to one of the best ever.

The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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