Monday, September 23, 2013
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Strike threat grows at Darigold — Union workers at the state’s biggest dairy cooperative, Seattle-based Darigold, are threatening to go out on strike. Last week, about 150 Darigold workers passed out leaflets explaining their position at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in Renton, Puyallup, Federal Way, Auburn, Covington, Bellevue, and Seattle. Union members claim Darigold has violated federal labor laws and is not bargaining in good faith with the union. “The public needs to know that they’re trying to intimidate us and they’re trying to sabotage the bargaining process,” said Jeff Cook, a production worker at the Darigold processing plant in Issaquah.
ALSO at The Stand — Teamsters say Darigold walked out of mediation
► At KGMI.com — Teachers and BTC in negotiations, strike possible — Teaching faculty at Bellingham Technical College say they’re ready to strike if a contract isn’t reached, but school officials say negotiations are going well. BTC spokesperson Marni Saling-Mayer says they were caught a little off-guard as the discussions switched from workload issues to pay.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — BTC awarded $2.75 million grant to retrain unemployed for nursing jobs — The federal dollars were among 57 grants totaling $474.5 million to community colleges and universities announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Improving economy helps CT restore service cuts from 2010 — Community Transit is adding bus trips and lengthening some routes in its second significant add-back of service since the massive cuts of 2010.
► In today’s Seattle Times — No big bad news in Constantine budget proposal — King County Executive Dow Constantine proposes a 2014 budget with no layoffs, no big spending.
► In the Columbian — Washington AG: Oregon-led CRC passes legal muster — A top assistant to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said this week that an Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing would pass legal muster — as long as funds from Washington aren’t used in the project.
► From AP — Prison inmates get training for aerospace jobs — Former inmates who land good-paying jobs are far more likely to stay out of trouble, state corrections officials say, and there’s a big demand now for certified aerospace-composite technicians.
► In the Olympian — State’s bank wouldn’t turn away pot cash — Bank of America’s seven-year contract to hold the state’s main account runs through June 30, and the state asked for bids this month in a request that specifically calls out deposits of marijuana revenue as a must-have.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Another good reason to support a state-run bank.
► In today’s LA Times — Shutdown threat reveals split in Republican Party — With one week left before a possible government shutdown, congressional debate has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party, pitting tea-party-backed conservatives against their colleagues. Budget moves orchestrated by tea party leader Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have encountered outright hostility from fellow Republican senators who say his strategy does not appear to have an endgame.
► In The Hill — Poll: Public opposes GOP Obamacare defunding effort — The public is overwhelmingly against a Republican threat to shut down the government in an effort to defund President Obama’s signature healthcare law, according to a CNBC poll released on Monday.
► At SeattlePI.com — Inslee to Congress: Recognize ‘real world’ — The governor writes blunt letter to Congressional leaders:
You should not allow the peoples’ health care to be held hostage. It is troubling that some in Congress would stop government from functioning as a last-ditch move to stop implementation of the Affordable Care Act… With our economy and employment still in the process of recovery — and already set back by unnecessary, self-inflicted wounds like budget sequestration — Congress must recognize what is at stake in the real world, including here in Washington State. A federal government shutdown would result in furloughs for workers, and vital services denied to taxpayers.
► In The Hill — Private sector fretting over logjam — Groups representing all sizes of the private sector are ramping up calls for Washington to do something — anything — to help the economy, rather than hurt it. Instead, businesses are watching Washington hurtle towards a potential government shutdown or, even worse, a debt default, and wondering why policymakers keep playing politics while the economy teeters.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Values and food stamps (editorial) — The U.S. House voted 217 to 210 to give 3.8 million Americans on food stamps the heave-ho. Three Washington lawmakers — Republican Reps. Dave Reichert, Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers — voted with the majority to whack $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Reichert, a moderate, chairs the House subcommittee that oversees food stamps. Message: The United States is an exceptional nation, which can be exceptionally foolish when it comes to addressing challenges of the working poor.
► In today’s NY Times — Free to be hungry (by Paul Krugman) — Even some conservative pundits worry that the war on food stamps, especially combined with the vote to increase farm subsidies, is bad for the GOP, because it makes Republicans look like mean-spirited class warriors. Indeed it does. And that’s because they are.
► In today’s Washington Post — House Republicans say they’ll act on immigration reform this year — House Republicans intensified their outreach to Latino groups last week, offering renewed pledges that the House will deal with immigration reform this year. The effort has revived hope among advocates that a bipartisan deal can be reached to address the fate of the nation’s 11 million undocumented workers and students.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. disability rolls swell in a rough economy — Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people in Penobscot County, Maine receiving Social Security disability benefits skyrocketed, rising from 4,475 to 7,955 — or nearly one in 12 of the county’s adults between the ages of 18 and 64. The fast expansion of disability here is part of a national trend that has seen the number of former workers receiving benefits soar from just over 5 million to 8.8 million between 2000 and 2012.
► At GoIAM.com — Harley-Davidson celebrates 110 years — This year marks Harley’s 110th anniversary. International and national motorcycle enthusiasts flocked to Milwaukee to celebrate. IAM and USW members are keys to Harley-Davidson’s success. When Harley-Davidson was struggling and nearly bankrupt, IAM and USW members helped turn the company around and into one of America’s leading manufacturers in the United States.
► At IFPTE.org — Free riding to a state near you — While “Right-to-Work” laws have drawn increased attention in the last three years, the latest being a judge’s ruling that Indiana’s recent passage of such a law goes against their state’s constitution, what has been lacking is a clear explanation of how these laws impact working Americans. Even most unions do a poor job in explaining this issue. When the media does cover this topic, the focus is usually on a state’s economy. Astonishingly, these laws have nothing to do with economics, much less one’s ability to find or retain a job, but instead represent an extreme form of government meddling.
One reason why so-called right-to-work laws are so fundamentally unfair is because they allow someone to opt out of one particular piece of the agreement negotiated between the employees and the employer, while leaving everything else in place. By prohibiting a clause requiring that all employees at least pay their fair share of an agreement that the employer and employees have agreed to, the government is deliberately creating a free-rider dilemma. Why pay union dues if you can get the benefits your colleagues negotiated for free? This would be like making taxes optional: your neighbor gets to drive on the highway, have firemen fight a fire at their burning home, and enjoy military protection all while riding on your back as a responsible taxpayer.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.