Tuesday, November 5, 2013
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Low voter turnout expected for today’s election — State election officials are projecting about half of all voters will return ballots by 8 p.m. today. In Spokane County, where about a fourth of all ballots had been returned as of Monday afternoon, Auditor Vicky Dalton is hoping to get above 40 percent.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Your vote counts even more this year… use it!
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing, Machinists talks on 777X on final approach — Secret high-level talks between Boeing and the Machinists union have reached a decisive point as the two sides try to clinch a deal to build the 777X in the Puget Sound area in exchange for a long-term labor contract. “We’re at a serious point in the talks,” said Tom Buffenbarger, national head of the International Association of Machinists (IAM). “It’s getting to a point where the members decide.” If a deal is reached, it’s likely that final assembly of the new 777X will be in Everett and fabrication of its giant composite wing will be done somewhere nearby.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing, Machinists in talks about 777X work
► In the PS Business Journal — Boeing-union talks on 777X are grounded in trust from 2011 pact — Trust built during talks, that created a historic contract between the Machinists union and Boeing just two years ago, could be leading the two sides toward a pact to keep Boeing 777X assembly in the Puget Sound area.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Puget Sound workers can build a quality 737 MAX, 777X for Boeing (editorial) — Puget Sound and Washington state cannot take anything for granted, but the region should have confidence in the deep reservoir of skills, abilities and efficient output that resides here. Combine that with hard lessons learned by Boeing’s 787 experience, and the region remains competitive. Washington is proud of its ties to Boeing, and its talented workforce makes that point every day. As the company rethinks roles and assignments, it behooves Boeing to factor in the legacy of quality it has in Puget Sound.
ALSO at The Stand — Washington is the clear choice for the 777X — If you are a Boeing shareholder or customer, this decision will be the true test of whether the company has learned anything from the 787 debacle. Will the 777X announcement signal Boeing’s renewed focus on delivering a quality reliable product on time? Or will it signal another risky ideological experiment in building a jet on the cheap?
► In the PS Business Journal — 777X would face logistical challenges in South Carolina — A key problem would be getting the plane’s Japanese-built fuselage sections to the floor of Boeing’s factory in North Charleston, S.C. Compared to Everett, the North Charleston plant is farther from the docks and lacks a suitable rail connection.
► In today’s Olympian — Governor Hotel back in business after renovations; more promised — The Governor Hotel is open for business after a recently completed round of renovations, but more work is set to begin in order to get the property ready in time for the legislative session, a hotel official said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Rusco USA LLC bought the Capitol Way hotel in September and promptly fired the entire unionized hotel staff. After closing less than a month for “renovations,” it has reopened with an entirely new — nonunion — staff. The Red Lion Hotel Olympia is now the only unionized hotel in town.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington Healthplanfinder continues uptick in enrollments, applications — The state’s online insurance marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, continues to report steady growth in enrollments and applications. During the first month of open enrollment, more than 55,000 Washington residents signed up for coverage, according to the latest figures.
► In today’s NY Times — For uninsured, clearing a way toward coverage — The woman, a thin 61-year-old, had come to the public library to sign up for health insurance through Kentucky’s new online exchange. She had a painful lump on the back of her hand and other health problems that worried her deeply, she said, but had been unable to afford insurance as a home health care worker who earns $9 an hour. Within a minute, the system checked her information and flashed its conclusion: eligible for Medicaid. The woman began to weep with relief. Without insurance, she said as she left, “it’s cheaper to die.”
► At Huffington Post — Kentucky’s Obamacare website works, but word of mouth is what sells it — Once Kimberly Cates got to the point where she had to pick a plan, she started to cry. “I’ve not had insurance for so long,” she said. “I didn’t get my hopes up.” After logging out of Kynect, she says she decided that Obamacare was “just too good to be true.” It was not a statement of relief, but an expression of profound skepticism.
► In The Onion — Republican alternatives to Obamacare — Here are some of the plans the GOP is considering: 1. Repeating the phrase “you can keep your current doctor” over and over until something happens; 2.Loosening regulations to allow Americans to ship ill and injured family members to cheaper doctors overseas…
► In today’s Washington Post — Senate close to passing bill to ban discrimination against gay workers — The Senate moved closer to passing a historic piece of legislation Monday that would ban discrimination against gay workers, signaling a dramatic shift in political attitudes on the issue. Seven Republicans joined 54 members of the Democratic caucus in voting to formally begin considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The 61 to 30 margin virtually guarantees its passage this week.
► In today’s NY Times — Toward ending workplace discrimination (editorial) — The move is one step toward putting into federal law a basic principle most Americans support: Job applicants and employees should be judged on their professional credentials and the caliber of their work, and not be held back because of who they are.
► From Aljazeera America — Median wage falls to lowest level since 1998 — Last year the median wage hit its lowest level since 1998, revealing that at least half of American workers are being left behind as the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession. The median wage — half of workers make more, half less — came to $27,519 in 2012.
► In The Hill — President eyes push for $9 minimum wage — “You’ll certainly be hearing more about it,” said Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
► In today’s NY Times — Supreme Court takes up steelworkers’ bid for time to put gear on — The Supreme Court, which ordinarily confronts complicated questions, heard arguments on Monday about what might seem like a simple one: What does it mean to change clothes? The question arose in a case filed by steelworkers who asked to be paid for the time it took them to put on and take off their work clothes, which included flame-retardant outerwear, gloves, boots, hard hats, safety glasses, earplugs and hoods.
► At Salon — “We have the right to educate you:” Workplace anti-union indoctrination caught on tape — Two leaked recordings offer a rare firsthand taste of the workplace pressure tactics advocates say are all too common whenever workers try to form a union. One recording captures a manager telling an activist worker one-on-one, “There’s nothing I don’t know,” “There’s no secrets anymore,” and “I am upset with you personally” for pursuing unionization without telling him. The other captures the same manager telling a group of employees in an Oct. 24 meeting, “We have the right to educate you, and we’re gonna exercise that right.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.