The Stand

Grocery talks, shutdown redux, what’s next, Tony Danza…

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Friday, October 18, 2013

 


LOCAL

 

tnt-grocery-strike-signs► In today’s News Tribune — Unions, grocers making one last effort to reach agreement — After negotiating off and on for some six months, unions representing some 21,000 Puget Sound-area grocery workers and representatives of four major grocery chains are hoping that one more effort can prevent a strike. The two sides met Thursday at a King County location to try to put together an agreement that has eluded them for months. No results from that session had been made public by Thursday evening. As negotiations resumed Thursday morning many issues remained to be resolved despite some movement over the weekend on pensions and health care, said the unions’ spokesman, Tom Geiger. Wages, holidays, hours and other benefits remained on the table.

If those efforts prove fruitless, said Geiger, union workers could go on strike early next week. The unions and the stores by mutual agreement have to give 72 hours of warning before declaring that the contract extension under which they’ve operated is ended. That decision to go on strike won’t be made lightly because once a strike begins it is unlikely to end quickly.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Coal opponents more focused on climate at Tacoma hearing — Hundreds of coal opponents demanded that regulators consider the harmful environmental effects of increased worldwide coal burning before granting building permits for a proposed coal export dock west of Longview.

 


OBAMACARE

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Obamacare: ‘Great start’ here while Oregon lags — Nearly 25,000 Washington residents have enrolled in health-care coverage through Healthplanfinder over the exchange’s first two weeks. In Oregon, no one has been able to enroll through Cover Oregon because the site still is not fully functioning.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But…

► In today’s Oregonian — Oregon cuts tally of people lacking health insurance by 10 percent in two weeks — Though Oregon’s health insurance exchange is not yet up and running, the number of uninsured is already dropping thanks to new fast-track enrollment for the Oregon Health Plan.

 


SHUTDOWN REDUX

 

► In today’s Olympian — Funds for local workers, programs flowing again — More than 830 workers at the Employment Security Department were furloughed or put on part-time status after the shutdown. About 75 workers at the state Military Department also were on part-time status.  Before Wednesday, the state was not certain that furloughed workers could be repaid for their lost time. But language in the federal budget and debt-limit bill provides for state employees to receive back pay, just as idled federal workers will.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — 200 federal workers go back to work on Peninsula — Olympic National Park, the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and Olympic National Forest stirred to life Thursday as they reopened following a last-minute agreement in Washington, D.C.

Herrera-Beutler► In today’s Columbian — Washington lawmakers don’t want shutdown sequels — As federal employees returned to work on Thursday and many national parks reopened, a common theme emerged among elected officials and those impacted by the 16-day government shutdown: We can’t keep doing this. “Southwest Washington residents deserve to know that the financial markets won’t get flipped upside down by a default that could devastate the fragile job market in our region,” said U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Camas). “The people we represent elected us to work together and solve problems, not to wage a never-ending partisan fight.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Rep. Herrera Beutler: That’s great and all, but you don’t get to be the “voice of reason” after silently assenting to the “strategy” of a federal government shutdown — for 15 days — before finally announcing that you supported ending it as the resolution was finally being negotiated. You don’t get to stand and watch Congressional Fight Club, yell “break it up” after your fighter has been beaten nearly to death, and then present yourself as a peacemaker.

mcmorris-cathy► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers looks back at shutdown — “I do think there were some unrealistic expectations about what could be accomplished by a majority in just one house,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Shutdown Cathy: Um… ya think?!

► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP averts disaster, ends shutdown for now (editorial) — Washington’s entire congressional delegation, Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, voted for the measure. Perhaps if those Republicans had spoken and acted earlier within their party, this might have ended sooner.

► At Think Progress — What you can get for the price of a shutdown — Standard & Poor’s has estimated that the shutdown cost the economy $24 billion. Here are some of the things that cost that much:

► In today’s NY Times — The damage done (by Paul Krugman) — It’s important to recognize that the economic damage from obstruction and extortion didn’t start when the G.O.P. shut down the government. On the contrary, it has been an ongoing process, dating back to the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. And the damage is large: Unemployment in America would be far lower than it is if the House majority hadn’t done so much to undermine recovery.

 


WHAT’S NEXT?

 

► In today’s NY Times — Two parties start work to avoid repeat crisis — After approval late Wednesday of the agreement ending the standoff, the deal-making mantle shifted overnight from the leaders of the Senate to the Budget Committee leaders, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), two less senior lawmakers who nonetheless could make very effective salespeople since they command loyal followings in their parties. The need for a bipartisan breakthrough, even a modest one, was amplified by the economic costs wrought by the 16-day shutdown and near-default on government obligations.

socsec-medicare-not-entitlements► In today’s Washington Post — Labor puts Dems on notice: Don’t touch Medicare and Social Security benefits — With the crisis chatter in Washington now turning to speculation about the coming budget talks and the possibility of a “grand bargain” to replace the sequester, liberals and unions are getting increasingly nervous that Congressional Dems will give up entitlement benefits cuts in exchange for, well, whatever is on offer from Republicans, which isn’t at all clear.

 


NATIONAL

 

► In today’s San Francisco Chronicle — BART workers go on strike — Bay Area Rapid Transit workers went on strike early Friday morning, leaving hundreds of thousands of Bay Area commuters scrambling for ways to get to work. After a marathon bargaining session that lasted nearly 30 hours, Roxanne Sanchez, president of SEIU Local 1021, walked out of the Oakland negotiations late Thursday afternoon and said the talks were over and that union workers would walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

► In the Boston Globe — Why the union bashing? (by Joan Vennochi) — After last April’s Marathon bombings, Bostonians love their first responders — at least until a state arbitrator awards a pay raise to Boston police that would begin to bring their salaries in line with those of Boston firefighters. Like magic, that turns our beloved law enforcement heroes into selfish extortionists, willing to put their private bank accounts ahead of the city’s economic stability.

 


T.G.I.F.

 

► The Entire Staff of The Stand™ presents the following for no reason in particular, other than it’s great. (Although we did see Tony Danza recently in the movie, “Don Jon.”)

 


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

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