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$15/hour minimum, state privatization, survivor benefits…

Monday, August 19, 2013




► From AP — Campaign seeks to push Seattle minimum wage to $15 an hour — Washington already has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour. Now, there’s a push in Seattle, at least, to make it $15. That would mean fast food workers, retail clerks, baristas and other minimum wage workers would get what protesters demanded when they shut down a handful of city restaurants in May and others called for when they demonstrated nationwide in July.

porter-juanita-fast-food► In The Stranger — The fast-food life — Meet Juanita Porter. She has been working in the fast-food industry for 16 years, racking up time at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Kidd Valley, and Jack in the Box. She currently works at a Taco Bell in Shoreline. “I love fast food,” she says, “because you get to see all kinds of people — I don’t want to be a pencil-pushing person.” But the fast-food life isn’t easy. Porter lives in Tukwila with three teenagers and “takes two buses to deal with this BS.” She participated in the fast-food strike with Good Jobs Seattle earlier this summer.

► At AFL-CIO Now — $8 an hour won’t shut her up — Shenita Simon is a shift supervisor at a New York City KFC. The mother of two started out at $7.25 an hour two years ago and now earns $8 an hour. Watch this video and find out more about Simon and other workers who are fighting for a living wage and the right to join unions without fear of retaliation.




privatization-afscme► In the News Tribune — State mulls privatizing websites, printing — Washington state government is belatedly wrapping up a review of services for possible privatization and could make its biggest decision so far — whether to farm out state printing — as early as this week. The decision would follow the state’s conclusion last week that it can’t save money by contracting with a private courier service to deliver interoffice mail to far-flung locations. State employees will keep that work.

ALSO at The Contributor — 8 ways privatization has failed America

► In today’s Columbian — Oregon-first CRC faces questions — As supporters hold out hope for a revived Columbia River Crossing with Oregon at the helm, the many unanswered questions surrounding the original project haven’t gone away.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State restores some funding to EvCC, EdCC after cuts — Leaders at Everett and Edmonds community colleges are about to receive a little extra state aid to improve academic programs and restore jobs eliminated during recession-driven budget cuts.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Solar-panel dispute with China puts Moses Lake jobs at risk — REC Silicon, with 500 workers, annually produces enough solar-grade polysilicon to power more than 2 million homes. But a global trade battle over solar panels threatens to plunge REC and its local workforce into financial crisis.

► In the Seattle Times — National Education Association teacher union wisely engages dissenters (editorial) — The NEA is keenly aware that its teachers are not a political monolith. The nation’s largest labor union is now making a pragmatic shift from simply tolerating its internal dissenters to engaging them.

► In today’s LA Times — Seattle’s ‘Bertha’ a not-so-lean tunneling machine — “Bertha,” a 7,000-ton, 326-foot-long and 57-foot-tall drilling device, which is playing a central role in a project that will redefine Seattle’s waterfront — and perhaps the city itself.




NYT-firefighters-survivor-benefits► In today’s NY Times — Firefighters’ survivor benefits value some lives over others — Whether they were full time or part time and whether they were employed by local, state or federal governments or private contractors can make a difference amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, providing some families with a financial lifeline from the government and others with barely enough to pay for a funeral.

► In today’s NY Times — Federal workers grounded by deep cuts — Most government travel budgets have been cut this year by 30 percent, the result of an administration directive forcing managers to make difficult policy decisions about whom to send, where to send them and for how long. The result, agency officials say, is a government that cannot conduct essential business and is embarrassing itself abroad.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Forever 21 is forever wrong as it slashes hours, health benefits for full-time workers — Execs at the trendy youth fashion chain have decided to reclassify many of the full-time sales, stock and maintenance workers, along with cashiers and other store employees, as part-time workers, allowed just 29.5 hours of work a week.

► In the Columbian — U.S. temp workforce is highest on record — In an uncertain economy, more and more companies are relying on temporary workers, who accounted for about one-fifth of private-sector job growth in Ohio in 2012, according to federal labor data. In June, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the nation has 2.7 million temp workers, the highest number on record.

► At All Alabama — UAW push to organize Alabama Mercedes plant could be felt throughout state — Could this be the year the United Auto Workers union finally finds an open door at an Alabama auto assembly plant and thus establishes a foothold in the southern U.S. auto sector?

► From AP — Hyundai, Kia labor unions in South Korea vote to strike — Labor unions at Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said workers voted to strike after talks with management for increased pay and benefits collapsed.

► In today’s NY Times — Bangladesh’s workers deserve better (editorial) — The families of those killed in the building collapse are still waiting for adequate compensation from the government.




► We’re guessing some of you saw this amazing “People Who Are Destroying America” clip from The Colbert Report last week. But just in case you didn’t, it’s must-see TV…


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

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