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Thursday, August 8, 2013




WSLC-13LegReport-Pg1-graphic-sm► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers may take new stab at roads budget — When the clouds of conflict subsided after a regular session and two extra ones, Democrats pushing transportation investments looked weary and had nothing to show for the effort. Now, the climate may actually be improving. Diminishing verbal showers are forecast and there’s a slim chance an agreement could arrive in a special session this fall or in the 2014 session. What’s changed the atmosphere is that members of the Senate Republican Coalition Caucus, who withstood relentless pressure through 153 days by Democratic lawmakers, Gov. Jay Inslee and pro-transportation package forces, intend to craft their own transportation funding proposal. And soon.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s about time.

► In today’s Columbian — CRC supporters send governors their plan to revive project — The letter, signed by a group of nearly 80 business leaders and other CRC supporters, asked the two governors to salvage at least part of the $3.4 billion plan, declared dead a month ago after Washington lawmakers failed to commit funding. To bring it back to life, supporters want Oregon to take the lead on the project. They hope to use money already lined up to build a new I-5 Bridge between Vancouver and Portland — with light rail — but without approval from the Washington Legislature.

EDITOR’S NOTE: State and Clark County government employee Don Benton reacts: “This is a clear indication that government is totally out of control.”

► In today’s Olympian — Time for retire-rehire to end in state (editorial) — If state law allows collecting a public pension and a publicly funded salary at the same time, no one can blame the employee for taking advantage. It’s the law that has to change.

► In today’s News Tribune — Port work doesn’t deserve Gov. Inslee’s obstruction (by UTU’s Herb Krohn) — The state of Washington has an opportunity to expand our ports and to secure the region’s position as a global trade leader for decades. But Gov. Jay Inslee’s request a comprehensive review (read delay) of the effects the items being exported have on the world’s climate caters to those who want to not just delay, but kill these projects and deny thousands of people construction employment as well as the many hundreds of permanent good middle-class working class jobs they will create.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Workers at AIM Aerospace vote to join Machinists union — Workers at AIM Aerospace in Sumner have voted to join the Machinists District 751. The vote covers more than 250 workers at the AIM plant. The company designs and manufactures a variety of airplane interior components such as lavatories and stow-bins.

ALSO see coverage at IAM 751’s website.

wroblewski-WSLC-Mother-Jones► In today’s Kent Reporter — Union president from Kent honored by state labor council — The Washington State Labor Council has honored the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 with its Mother Jones Award, in recognition of his “outstanding advocacy on behalf of Washington’s working families.” The award recognized union President Tom Wroblewski, a Kent resident, for his leadership in negotiating the contract extension that resolved a National Labor Relations Board fight with the Boeing Co. and ensured the 737 MAX would be built in Washington state.

► From Reuters — ILWU sues Port of Portland for $200,000 records search — The ILWU claims the port violated the Oregon Public Records Act by charging the union $200,000 for public records searches. The union submitted public records requests in June, September and December 2012. It said it was charged “arbitrary and excessive” fees to find the records and told further fees would be assessed for lawyers to review and segregate the records before release.

► In today’s Oregonian — Union-supported Oregon group files another flurry of proposed tax initiatives — Our Oregon, the political group supported by unions and several other liberal organizations, has filed four more potential tax initiatives — including two that would raise personal income taxes on the well-to-do.




► In The Atlantic — More than a quarter of fast-food workers are raising a child — According to recent census data almost 40% of fast food workers are 25 or older; more than 30% have at least some college experience; and more than a quarter are parents.

nyt-fast-food-organize2► MUST-READ In today’s NY Times — Fast-food fight (editorial) — Activism among fast-food workers is almost certain to continue and is likely to spread to other underpaid workers. At some point, as strikes continue, well-paid executives in low-wage industries will have to confront the fact that low worker pay is at odds with their companies’ upbeat corporate images and their self-images as top executives. (The chief executives of McDonald’s and Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, are among the nation’s highest-paid corporate leaders.) The Great Recession and the slow recovery have reinforced trends toward inequality and inadequate pay that were evident even before the last downturn. Fast-food workers are fighting back, in just cause.

► Last night on “The Colbert Show” — SEIU President Mary Kay Henry explains why her union’s members support the fast-food strikes:




► In today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Legislators head to Chicago for ALEC retreat — The group is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that promotes free-market and conservative proposals. In addition to mostly Republican legislators, its members include representatives from major corporations. Its model legislation that has made its way to capitals across the country.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Know of legislators from Washington state who are attending this event? Let us know!

► In The Hill — AFL-CIO leader blasts Obama’s tax plan — While he did not mention Obama’s tax plan or the president by name, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said it was wrong to offer a tax plan that wouldn’t amount to a hike on corporations and argued that any tax reform should generate revenue for the government.

ALSO at The Stand — Trumka calls for ‘revenue positive’ corporate tax reform

WorkingWA-Amazon-Art-Museum► At Xconomy — Bezos, no fan of unions, gets 1,200 union workers at Washington Post — None of his tens of thousands of U.S. employees at Amazon are represented by unions. Amazon — like many large employers — is generally opposed to organized labor, which the company believes would “slow down the kind of behind-the-scenes innovation that has propelled its growth.” It also fits with Bezos’ personal politics. Personal associates have described him as libertarian, a preference borne out in recent political contributions opposing the creation of a state income tax and supporting marriages for gay couples in Washington state.

► From AP — SF bus union says deal reached; no strike — Drivers, dispatchers and other workers for a San Francisco Bay Area bus system reached a tentative agreement with their employer late Tuesday, avoiding a strike that threatened to affect hundreds of thousands of commuters. On Wednesday, a special board is scheduled to hear testimony about a separate labor dispute involving Bay Area Rapid Transit that resulted in a 4 1/2-day strike last month and is threatening another one that could strand many of BART’s estimated 400,000 daily riders.

► At TPM — How immigration reform can still pass Congress — Despite the long odds, Democrats see a narrow road through which comprehensive immigration reform could still pass both houses of Congress and become law. But the road is murky and full of landmines.

jayapal-pramila► At Politico — Why don’t Republicans want to win? (by Pramila Jayapal) — The U.S. House of Representatives snuck out of town last week with little fanfare, and rightly so: America’s lower body had just managed to squander another work period without any movement on immigration reform. The only conclusion to draw from this episode is that Republicans don’t want to win a presidential election ever again.

► A related story in The Hill — Poll: Congress doesn’t deserve a break — More than eight in 10 voters say Congress should not be spending a month away from Washington.




airlines-business-class► In today’s News Tribune — Decline of middle-class create first-class inequality (by Harold Meyerson) — Airlines are sparing no expense these days to enlarge, upgrade and increase the price of their first-class and business-class seating. At the other end of the economic spectrum, low-cost airlines that re-create the thrill of traveling in steerage are thriving, too. The new business model, apparently, is to shrink the seats, charge extra for everything and offer nothing for free that might be construed as an amenity. The upgrading of business and the downgrading of coach present a fairly faithful mirror of what’s happening in the larger economy: the disappearance of the middle class.


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