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Short dialogues, secret automation, overpaid cops/firefighters…

Thursday, August 15, 2013




blazing-saddles-hostage► In today’s Seattle Times — Listening tour should lead to state transportation-package compromise (editorial) — The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus’ call for at least seven regional meetings by Oct. 30 is an effort at engagement, but lawmakers’ ultimate goal should be to negotiate a transportation-funding package both sides of the political aisle can support. Among important changes to consider are project-management and permitting reforms and opening a dialogue about prevailing wages and apprenticeships.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Entire Staff of The Stand doesn’t speak for Washington’s labor community, but if Senate leaders hold out for the usual Republican proposals to cut prevailing wages and discourage apprenticeship opportunities, this will be a very short “dialogue.” Paying to maintain our state’s infrastructure is simply good governance and it’s the single most important thing state legislators can do right now to improve Washington’s business competitiveness and create/maintain good jobs. It’s not something to be held hostage, D.C-style, in order to achieve right-wing policies that would never pass on their own. The (Everett) Herald got it right earlier this week:

…No package can be held hostage to a partisan wish list and deal killers such as “an open dialogue on prevailing wage.” Most assume these throwaways were inserted to assuage red-meat caucus members. But keep-em-happy politics can’t be allowed to sidetrack the package goal.




dr-evil-bag-of-shh► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing secretly testing new automation for 777X — Inside a boat warehouse in Anacortes, Boeing is quietly setting up tests of new advanced automation methods for building its soon-to-be-launched 777X jet. The hush-hush project reveals Boeing intends to dramatically change the way the plane’s metal hull is built, reducing manual labor on that task while ramping up the overall production rate. Meanwhile, in a nerve-wracking process that could either boost or bust future manufacturing in the Puget Sound region, Boeing is still weighing various plans for where to put 777X manufacturing — including Everett, alternative company facilities and non-Boeing sites. One option being weighed: Do everything in Everett. Another: Outsource to Japan the fabrication of the fuselage sections, now done in Everett.

ALSO at The Stand — Boeing thrives, invests in Washington state (By Bob Drewel, Maud Daudon and Jeff Johnson)

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing CFO remains upbeat on 787 — A new 787 wiring problem pushed Boeing shares down nearly 2% Wednesday, but a company executive was upbeat about the Dreamliner’s future.




hupp-clyde-tnt► In today’s News Tribune — Clyde Hupp, friend of working man, dies at 83 — “Clyde believed in education for people — not just the trades but for everybody so they could move up the ladder,” said retired labor council Secretary-Treasurer Al Link. “He was a strong, compassionate labor leader and a good friend of the working people.”

ALSO at The Stand — Labor’s ‘Mr. Pierce County’ dies at 83

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane police, firefighter salaries outpace region’s average wages — As budget discussions ramp up at the city of Spokane, a conservative think tank has released a study suggesting that pay for Spokane’s police and firefighters has not only outpaced the region’s average wages but is better than what their peers in larger Northwest cities are earning.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington Policy Center, the folks who are bringing controversial anti-union Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Washington for their annual fundraising dinner, is funded and run by right-wing businessmen like Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman and a laundry list of Washington businesses, ranging from Microsoft to Brown Bear Car Wash. Apparently, corporate Washington thinks the people who risk their lives every day to keep the public safe are making too much money.

► In today’s News Tribune — Labor group, Walmart square off in Pierce County Superior Court — When supporters of a group calling itself OUR Walmart entered a Walmart store in Auburn last November, and as they “sang, and kept rhythm on pots and pans,” they were doing so to bring attention to the retailer’s employment policies. Or else they were there to disrupt business.

► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver schools, union are near deal — Vancouver Public Schools and one of its unions — the  Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals represents more than 600 clerical workers — may be close to agreement on some contract language that has been under negotiation since 2010.

Fired-by-the-Fund► In the NW Labor Press — PIRG fundraising group on trial for labor violations — The NLRB issued a formal complaint against the Fund for the Public Interest, the money-raising arm of the national PIRG network and its affiliated green groups, saying David Neel was fired from the fund’s Portland office because he engaged in union activities. Neel is the only fired Fund for the Public Interest call center worker to have a hearing before a judge so far, but many other union supporters have been fired since the union campaign began, including the worker who first called the union, all eight of the workers who presented the original union petition to a manager, all four workers who volunteered on the union’s initial bargaining team, and several who replaced them, for a total of at least 13 supporters fired — in a call center that employs about 25 workers.




► In The Hill — Obama’s approval rating on economy drops to 35% — A new poll finds President Obama’s approval rating on the economy dropping to 35%, down from 42% in June, even as he travels across the country delivering policy speeches and pushing proposals to boost job growth and investment.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Most working families say strengthen, don’t cut, Social Security




BLS-benefits-survey► In the NW Labor Press — Union members more likely to get benefits of every kind — Union members are much more likely than nonunion workers to have retirement and health benefits, according to a July 17 report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

► At Salon — Fast-food strikes to massively expand: ‘They’re thinking much bigger’ — Fast food strikers will escalate their campaign within the next week and a half, according to the key union backing their recent walkouts.

► In today’s Washington Post — Review group halts processing of DOD furlough appeals — A federal review panel has suspended its processing of furlough appeals from civilian defense employees, citing an “unprecedented large volume” of cases from the federal workers. Labor groups have encouraged federal workers to appeal their furloughs to send a message to Washington that “we’re not going to just roll over and take this lying down,” wrote a lawyer for AFGE.

► In the WSJ — GOP Rep. Lamar Alexander gets letter from Tea Party urging him to retire — In the open letter, 20 groups attacked Alexander, saying the country “can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Tea Party doesn’t exist. A recent survey — by a Republican pollster — found that just 8% of Americans consider themselves Tea Party members. This group is what used to be called the far right-wing of the Republican Party. The Tea Party is a media construct being financed by a handful of super-rich individuals who are part of that 8% of extreme right-wingers. They are exploiting the Citizens United decision to set up non-profits that are immune from campaign disclosure and exempt from paying taxes, even though their purpose is primarily political. The IRS should be targeting these @ssholes.




► Buzz is building around a new documentary film series, “Strength in Union,” which is currently being filmed. Covering the history of the labor movement and highlighting the stories of workers, the series also will feature interviews from historians and labor leaders, including Leo W. Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers; Cliff Guffey, president of the Postal Workers; Lawrence J. Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union; and Captain Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots.

Here’s a preview:


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

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